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Empowering Youth Through Skill Development: Kigoowa Skilling Centre’s Success Story

With its fourth intake currently underway, consisting of 502 students, the center offers training in various departments such as embroidery, weaving, knitting, leather design and shoemaking, baking, tailoring, and hairdressing.

Kigoowa Skilling Centre students displayed their items on Thursday, May 30, 2024, as they prepared to complete their six-month free skills program.

Kigoowa Skilling Centre, located in Nakawa Division, is one of nine Skilling Centres established under the Presidential Initiative on Skilling the Girl and Boy Child (PISGBC) project, which spans Kampala’s five divisions.

The centre, located at Butukirwa Catholic Church in Kigoowa, Ntinda Division, is currently accepting its fourth intake of 502 students, who will soon write exams leading to the issuance of a recognized certificate by the Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT).

The students were trained in seven departments: embroidery, weaving, knitting, leather design and shoemaking, baking, tailoring, and hairdressing.

In his remarks, Mr. Nicholas Turinawe, National Resistance Movement (NRM) Chairperson for Nakawa Division, thanked President Yoweri Museveni and PISGBC leaders led by Dr. Faith Katana for transforming the lives of youths who did not have the opportunity to attend school or further their education.

“Obviously, to come here, you must have a goal. “The goal is to fight poverty,” he emphasized.

“We do a lot of unusual stuff here. Mr. Turinawe stated, “I want to support His Excellency the President’s program of promoting Ugandan products, and the drivers of that promotion are skilled people like the youths here.”

He did, however, warn Ugandans that the skilling program has nothing to do with political connections, noting that it is intended to accommodate all adolescents with various political party leanings.

He encouraged parents to send their children for skill development.

Dr. Katana, the Special Presidential Assistant on Skilling and Education and Project Head, praised the role of counsellors at the Skilling Centres in mentoring and altering the lives of young people.

She especially commended Dr. Grace Bikumbi, a clinical psychologist and addiction specialist, for rehabilitating and guiding the adolescents who were addicted to various negative habits prior to attending the skilling centers, including as drug misuse.

“Dr. Grace Bikumbi, we thank you for the work you are doing and I also thank the instructors for the job well done,” said Dr. Katana.

On a sad note, Dr. Katana and her team offered condolences to the Kigoowa Skilling Centre family for the loss of one of their own, Ms. Annette Nanono, who was an instructor in the weaving department. 

She regarded the late Nanono as a benefit to the skilling sector and the country as a whole.

“She was hardworking, resourceful, and a team player. We genuinely lost her, and that hurts me.She prayed: “May God rest her soul in peace.”

Dr. Katana also told the attendees at the showcase event that President Museveni created the program to help his bazukulu realize their full potential and contribute to the country’s progress.

She encouraged students who had completed their training to use their skills not only for personal development, but also for national development.

“The President wants these young people to be useful members of the nation. Milk is produced by milking, not by cows. Milking involves labour, thus we must work hard and be productive for our own benefit. We have said that whatever you sow, you will reap. Everything you say, think, or do is a seed you sow. Dr. Katana suggested, “Let us sow rightly and reap abundantly.”

She also reminded the kids that progress is driven by products and services, and she encouraged them to maintain high standards for their products so that they are competitive and can guarantee a market.

Dr. Katana utilized the same occasion to aggressively exhort the youths to keep excellent morals behaviours by respecting their parents and members of their communities. 

“Sincerely if we don’t return to God and be accountable to God, at a personal level I want to tell you we don’t have children, we don’t have a nation and we don’t have leaders,” she said.

“We must be people who are respected and well-behaved; Uganda is the best country, with the best people. Let us restore morals in our families and societies. Let each of us fulfill our duty.”

Ms. Aminah Lukanga, Kampala’s Resident City Commissioner (RCC), praised President Museveni’s skill-building program, calling it as a remarkable effort that has strengthened and developed the skills of young people.

“I can tell you, this project will make Uganda  wonderful country,” she observed. 

Ms. Lukanga, on the other hand, urged the skilling program’s recipients to join associations that the government could easily fund.

She also encouraged the talented group to take use of other government programs, such as the Emyooga Parish Development Model, to secure start-up financing for their enterprises.

“I encourage all the young people who are going through this program to form associations, come back to us, we shall support you,” said Ms. Lukanga.

Kihunde Agnes, one of the beneficiaries with a diploma in accounting, said she noticed the advertisement on television and joined instantly.

“After six months of learning machine and hand knitting, I can now produce children’s sweaters, scarves, and a variety of other items. Most ladies seek employment in other countries since they are unaware of such an advantageous arrangement. “There are better things to do at home than outside,” she explained.

Teddy Nakisige of Najjera was fed up with being on the wrong side of morality after dropping out of school in senior two. She dramatically recalled, in tears, how God led her to Kigoowa Skilling Centre and recommended other females to gain the skills and not be duped by men.

The Skilling project managers, Ms. Juliet Namale and Dr. Hillary Musoke Kisanja, as well as area political figures, attended the occasion.

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