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Young Women of Uganda: Empowering and Building a Brighter Future

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Uganda’s young women face many challenges that inhibit their ability to remain in school and develop the skills and training necessary to positively and sustainably impact their futures. However, thanks to the support of donors who contribute to Strengthen Communities, those hurdles are being lowered, bit by bit.

As a result, the young women of Uganda are pursuing their education and learning the skills they need. They have the strength and resilience necessary to create a brighter tomorrow for themselves and their families and fulfill their God-given potential.

Braving Many Challenges

One such young woman is 17-year-old Anena, a Gem Primary School student who faced significant obstacles, including a lack of resources and societal expectations that prioritized the education of boys over girls. This was a common experience for young women like her in Uganda, as many experience societal stigma, limited access to education, and economic hardship.

Gem Primary School, located in the Lamwo Gem sub-county host community, is a government-aided school with multiple challenges: high student numbers, limited teachers, and sporadic attendance, particularly during farming seasons. FH partners with local leaders to help address some of those challenges by integrating life skills training into the girls’ education.

The Lamwo district, located in the Acholi sub-region bordering South Sudan and inhabited primarily by the Acholi people, has been a refugee-hosing district since 2017. That means existing challenges are tougher than ever, including:

  • High rates of illiteracy.
  • High rates of teen pregnancy.
  • Food insecurity and malnutrition.
  • Inadequate infrastructure.

Opening a Door to Opportunity

When FH began to partner with Anena’s community in 2021 through her school, her life took a positive turn. This partnership, supported by donors through Strengthen Communities, aims to empower young women by providing life skills training and creating opportunities for income generation. By working hand-in-hand with Lamwo’s government-aided primary schools, FH and these young women can have a lasting impact on their surrounding communities.

Anena creating reusable sanitary pads with her peers.
Anena creating reusable sanitary pads with her peers.

Before the livelihood and skills training provided by FH, Anena shared, “I struggled with low self-esteem and poor personal hygiene, which made attending school difficult. I was only involved in routine class lessons that lacked practical skills, and I never knew the importance of life skills like problem-solving and personal hygiene.”

Creating Sustainable Solutions

Through the training programs offered by FH, in partnership with the communities and their leaders, Anena and her peers have learned to manage their personal hygiene and make reusable sanitary pads. “I have learned better hygiene practices, especially during menstrual days, and gained knowledge and skills on reusable sanitary pad making and vegetable growing,” Anena says.

Knowledge, resources, and life skills are crucial for young women to continue attending school without interruption. These teachings not only improved school attendance but also boosted their self-esteem. Providing Female Dignity Kits to young women is another way to support those efforts.

Along with hygiene training, the students learned how to create a vegetable garden on half an acre of land, giving them the startup funding they needed for a new, exciting venture. With their gardening money, they created a hair salon and barber business at their school in 2021, working after classes and generating 230,000 Ugandan shillings ($62 USD) to reinvest the following year.

Anena and her peers providing salon and barber services.
Anena and her peers providing salon and barber services.

“Making my own pads has not only saved me money, but also boosted my confidence,” Anena said. “We used the profits from our vegetable gardening to buy a machine for our hair-cutting business, which now provides affordable services to our schoolmates.”

A Future and a Hope

The true beauty of these partnerships is not just their impact on one young woman but on entire communities. Local leaders and families are starting to see why educating and supporting women in their goals is valuable for everyone.

By empowering young women, donors in partnership with FH are helping transform entire communities and providing hope for young people in challenging situations. Families and local leaders are beginning to see the value of educating girls and women and supporting their ambitions. These young women are building brighter futures, while breaking generational cycles of poverty.

Anena and her peers being mentored by their teacher.
Anena and her peers being mentored by their teacher.

“Our community has changed so much since FH started these programs,” Anena’s mother noted. “We see more girls staying in school and helping their families. It gives us hope for a better future.”

When asked how she feels now about the changes to her community and personal life, Anena reveals that she is “Optimistic about the future. My peers and I are able to attend school regularly because we are able to take care of menstrual hygiene because we can now afford reusable sanitary pads for ourselves. We will perform better, transition and attain university degrees.”

Creating Lasting Change Through Faith and Generosity

Through the collaborative efforts of FH and the generosity of people like you, transformative work is being made possible in Uganda. As the Bible teaches us, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. ‘” — Jeremiah 29:11

We believe God works in mighty ways through His people, and that the hope and future promised to us all, including young women like Anena, is evidenced in the faith and support of fellow believers. Your partnership means more young people have a chance to discover the brighter future God has planned for them.


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You may send small, flat paper-based items that can fit into a standard #10 size envelope, have a value of less than $5 dollars and weigh less than 4 ounces. We ask that you send small, flat items of this size because shipping is expensive and even small gift items can cause issues clearing customs.
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