In rural Uganda, so many children leave school with no opportunities for work and no skills to earn a living. The 4 primary schools that ran our malaria project branched out on their own to build wonderful vegetable gardens. We are using these gardens as a place to teach the students basic business, marketing and entrepreneurship skills. Surplus produce from the gardens is sold and the funds re-invested in other small-income schemes devised by the students. Some of the students have started making and marketing woven baskets and other handicrafts. At the same time they are taught business principles, cash management, and innovative thinking. Our aim is to build students who will be able to think for themselves and have the skills to start a small business of their own one day. The gardens also grow Vitamin A enriched sweet potatoes which are an important dietary supplement for the development of young brains.
We have also expanded the idea of skills training to begin a pilot apprentice program in Kampala for high school graduates. The program pays a family-run auto-parts business to take on several apprentices. These apprentices learn the auto-parts business, and such skills as stock control, book-keeping and sales. Our first graduate was immediately employed by a large company and now travels aboard purchasing auto parts for them. This young man began his life in poverty and had few prospects but now is on his feet earning his own income.