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18 April 2024 - News

Social skills improve livelihoods for adolescents and youth

In Kasese district, a remarkable story of a resilient and determined 17-year-old Adesi unfolds. Born into a challenging family situation, Adesi tragically lost her mother at the age of 13 while still in primary seven. Her mother left her with five siblings by a father who immediately abandoned them for his other wives. Adesi found herself thrust into the role of caregiver at just 15 years.

“Due to the hardships, we were going through, three of our older siblings left home to hustle their way in life. I have never heard from them again,” she says. Faced with immense challenges, including the departure of her elder siblings, Adesi refused to succumb to despair. Instead, she took on the responsibility of providing for her remaining siblings, working tirelessly in people’s gardens to earn a meager income for their survival.

“I would work in people’s gardens to get a small pay, which I would then use to buy food and other effects at home” she adds. It was during this trying time that Adesi encountered her help in form of a peer educator from Save the Children. She says the peer educator approached her and introduced her to peer education, a Save the Children program that involves motivated and trained young people sharing knowledge related to health and meaningful relationships with fellow adolescents.

“What he shared interested me to join the program. In the program, I found a community that would teach me more than I ever imagined in form of soft and life skills,” she says. Save the Children through the RAISE project in Kasese provides soft skills to adolescents and young people out of school. In this module, participants explore the assets and resources that are available to them. They begin by recognizing that their knowledge, capacities, and goals are assets.

Through this module, adolescents appreciate that the careful management of monetary and nonmonetary resources increases their control over their futures. “The life skills sessions encouraged me to make some savings from the odd jobs I do in the community. This business then enabled me to make savings of two thousand Ugandan shillings per day,” Adesi adds. Her plan now is to use her savings to join a SEED school in her village and join secondary education.

She continues to sell the yellow bananas and avocados in the evenings to get what will keep the home running and be able to meet her school requirements. “I am hopeful that I will manage to complete senior four. I would like to do a technical course in building and construction which will enable me to get more money to take care of the educational needs of my siblings and change their life,” Adesi explains.