16 April 2010
|Refugees learn about catering in Kampala through a JRS-sponsored work-skills programme (JRS Kampala)|
|"We hope that the training will help them find work or start their own small business and that it will make them less dependent on handouts from aid organisations.”|
Kampala, 16 April 2010 - On January 22, 2010, JRS announced that it will soon start providing skills training for refugees and asylum seekers in Kampala.
“JRS has made arrangements with several schools in and around Kampala to train selected refugees in catering, computer, driving and hairdressing,” said Stephen Kuteesa, Coordinator of the Urban Emergency Programme (UEP) at the annual meeting with 150 beneficiaries of JRS services in Kampala, Uganda. In addition, two UEP staff members will teach refugees how to make candles and soap. “We hope that the training will help them find work or start their own small business and that it will make them less dependent on handouts from aid organisations,” says Mr Kuteesa.
Meanwhile, 20 refugees have completed the soap and candle making course, presented their business plan and received a start-up kit to start their own business. “We’re planning to train another 60 refugees until the end of this year,” says Susi Moeller, one of the two JRS workers who conduct the training.
Three drivers, among them one woman, have also completed their training and recently received their driving permits. Five more have started their training on April 12.
On April 1, a group of 10 refugees completed the catering course. They are now expected to present a business plan in order to receive their start-up grant. Eight more have started their training on April12.
Ten refugees have taken up a computer course and another five have completed two of their five months hairdressing course.
Quoting the old saying “give a man a fish and you feed him for one day, teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” Mr Kuteesa expressed JRS’ wish to wean refugees in Kampala from a “care and maintenance” system and help them to increasingly sustain themselves.
To register for the training courses, applicants need to be conversant in English. Since most refugees are from francophone countries and do not speak English, many registered for the JRS run English classes at the beginning of the year. “This shows that they are really interested in taking part in the training,” said English teacher, Joe Stevens Mande.
Besides the skills training, JRS will continue the support it traditionally provides, such as emergency material assistance, advocacy and English language classes.
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