Enterprising Barbara creates her own livelihood

Barbara is a very up-and-coming example of the qualities that live in the disabled children who come to the center in Lira. After vocational school, she opened a hair salon.



Even flow of customers in the small salon. A proud mother Betty visiting the salon. Regular flow of customers in the small salon. A proud mother Betty visiting the salon.
We squeeze into the tiny salon that Barbara Akech (16) runs with a friend. The walls are covered with pictures of all the varieties of hairstyles African women could possibly ask for. Centimeter by centimeter, Barbara weaves out one of the variants of the customer in the chair. The handiwork reveals that she knows the craft.

Craftsman who knows the craft. Craftsman who knows the craft.

It is not many years since the dexterous girl came to the Lira Rehabilitation Center badly afflicted with osteomyelitis. The infection had gotten a good grip on one foot, but a wise family took action and our skilled physiotherapists got her treatment in time.

Her mother - Betty, stops by the salon while we are there, and Betty is visibly proud of her daughter. The mother knows that the fidgety daughter could at worst have been missing a foot, or been a helpless person who could not contribute anything to the family, living as an object of bullying in the village.

Barbara said yes when our social workers during their stay in Lira suggested vocational school, and now she shares a small salon and appliances with a colleague. There are enough customers for both of them, and most importantly - Barbara stands on her own two feet, has created her own workplace. The Adina Foundation sees that it gives results to stimulate young people to complete vocational school. And according to our social workers, girls who have a profession are not so prone to being married off prematurely against their will.

At the moment, five of "our children" are in the process of taking a vocational certificate in various fields at the vocational school we work with. More will train as tailors. When the last exam has been taken, we provide them with a sewing machine of the kind that is powered by muscle power. Every year we have around 15 young people in vocational school.

We greet a very motivated group at the vocational school. The girls and boys come from different villages, partly far away, and must therefore live in the boarding school here. When the basic education in sewing is done, they choose to specialize, become the best in one or another field. Specialization is according to the teacher the surest path to financial success.

Young people who earn their own money have status in the village, but according to our social workers, the status is a mix of the villagers knowing that they master a certain field - and of course the money.