Uganda, 12 September 2014: Youth kiss bye to poverty thanks to Building Young Futures
By Proscovia Nakibuuka Mbonye
Judith Nassali, a 24-year-old youth from Mubende district cannot stop smiling every time she talks about the Building Young Futures Programme (BYF). Nassali born in a very big family, dropped out of school after completing Senior Four, when her mother couldn’t afford paying her school fees. The challenges thereafter were enormous.
However, this did not deter her from chasing her dream. As a result of her hard work and interest in working with young people in her community, Nassali was identified and enrolled by BRAC under the BYFs programme. This was a turning point for Nassali who lightens up when asked about the benefits she has realised from the programme. “With the financial literacy and small business management knowledge, I have acquired, I now help my mother run and manage her bakery business. It is doing very well,” she said.
In May this year, Nassali was among the 400 BYF youth mentors selected to undergo financial literacy and small business management skills training, as trainers. She has since returned to her village and trained and is now mentoring over 30 youths in small business management. They all belong to “Buliisa Big Stars Club” and she has so far trained them on the benefits of saving, borrowing and budgeting. She thanks BRAC, UNICEF and Barclays Bank for the opportunity which has not only changed her life, but the lives of many other youths who had no hope after dropping out of school.
Nassali , together with fellow mentors have trained 8,539 youths from Masaka, Mubende, Mityana, Kyenjojo, Kamwenge, Kabarole, Kasese and Rakai districts in financial literacy, small business management and life skills between December 2013 and July 2014.
Building Young Futures (BYF) Programme, funded by Barclays Bank and UNICEF is a 3-year programme aimed at providing life skills, financial literacy and small business management skills, entrepreneurship coaching and employment opportunities for over 10,000 vulnerable and marginalized young women and men thereby enabling them increase their incomes and improve their livelihoods from selected districts of Uganda. Some of the ‘big stars’ can’t hide their joy. Among them is Joan Nakigudde an 18 year old young girl who joined the club recently. She can’t stop talking about the great things she has learnt so far. “I have learnt that saving is critical regardless of the amount of money one has,” Nakigudde says with a smile. “I now know how to save and how to use a bank like Barclays,’ she continues.
“In a bank, your money is safe and you can access it whenever you need it,” she reaffirms.
Nakigudde and her family depend on agriculture and they earn money through selling beans, maize and groundnuts. Before enrolling with BYF, she didn’t have any knowledge about savings and the benefits despite the fact that her family was earning some little income from their produce. However, ever since she acquired the knowledge, she has saved Sh.100, 000.
"When I have saved enough, I will invest in my dream business and kiss bye to poverty," she says.
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