A team from Accomplish recently had the privilege of visiting the Rwenzori Special Needs Foundation’s (RNSF) vocational training centre in Fort Portal, Uganda, and meeting current and former students.
Trustees Chris Acton and Chris Harris (who travel to Uganda annually to see RSNF and our other partner organisations) were joined this year by volunteer Becky Hibbert. They spent time learning about the school’s knitting machines (which were mesmerising), hairdressing techniques and tailoring.
The students, all of whom are deaf or disabled, shared some of their favourite things about the school, which included:
the course they were studying;
being in school with others like themselves;
and one girl sharing that she had "learned to love herself."
What a powerful and uplifting set of feedback.
After a tour of the school, our team went out to meet former students who now work in their local communities. This was a chance to see how graduates had used their training to set up successful businesses.
One inspiring story was a collaborative effort by two 2021 graduates from the same village, who have combined forces to rent a shop for hairdressing (Grace) and knitting (Hassan). Grace is deaf and Hassan is a single leg amputee. Hassan is diversifying by doing some head shaving; he uses the proceeds to buy yarn for his knitting business.
Our team also visited Esther, a single leg amputee who graduated from the knitting course in 2021. Esther runs a shop selling drinks and snacks alongside her knitting business. This has enabled her to send her children to school (which she was previously unable to afford).
We met other former students who were finding it difficult to apply the confidence they had learnt in the classroom to real life business. We had some fruitful conversations about how the school could better support graduates, and the additional funding this would require.
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