1. Early Life

Namakula Rahma, a primary school dropout, was brought up by a single mother in Bombo. Despite facing challenges early on, Rahma’s upbringing was filled with love and perseverance. Growing up in a small town, Rahma learned the values of hard work and determination from her mother, who worked tirelessly to provide for her family.

Without the opportunity to receive a formal education, Rahma focused on learning practical skills that would help her contribute to the household income. She assisted her mother in managing a small business, gaining invaluable experience in entrepreneurship and resource management.

Rahma’s early life taught her the importance of resilience and adaptability in the face of adversity. These lessons would later prove to be instrumental in shaping her future endeavors and success. Despite dropping out of school at a young age, Rahma’s early life experiences laid the foundation for her to overcome obstacles and pursue her dreams with unwavering determination.

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2. Challenges Faced

Having to start working in a quarry and charcoal stall at a young age presented numerous challenges that I had to face. One of the major difficulties was being exposed to various health risks due to the nature of the work environment. Working in a quarry exposed me to harmful chemicals, dust, and heavy machinery, all of which posed a threat to my well-being. Additionally, the lack of proper safety measures further exacerbated the health risks I faced on a daily basis.

Another significant challenge that I encountered while working at such a young age was the risk of sexual assaults. Unfortunately, being a vulnerable young worker made me an easy target for sexual predators who took advantage of my situation. The fear and trauma caused by these incidents made it even more challenging for me to continue working in such environments.

Overall, the challenges I faced while working in the quarry and charcoal stall not only impacted my physical health but also took a toll on my mental well-being. Despite these obstacles, I persevered and remained determined to overcome the adversities thrown my way.

Abstract painting of vibrant colors in circular pattern swirls

3. Turning Point

After experiencing a series of setbacks in her career, Jessica’s fortunes changed when she crossed paths with Nina in 2023. Nina, a seasoned hairdresser, took Jessica under her wing and became her mentor. Through their relationship, Jessica not only learned valuable hairdressing skills but also gained confidence and a sense of purpose.

Nina’s guidance was transformative for Jessica. She taught her the art of hairstyling, from basic techniques to advanced trends. Under Nina’s mentorship, Jessica honed her craft and discovered a newfound passion for hairdressing. Nina’s teachings not only improved Jessica’s technical abilities but also instilled in her a sense of creativity and innovation.

Thanks to Nina’s mentorship, Jessica’s career trajectory took a positive turn. She began to attract more clients, who were impressed by her newfound skills and confidence. With Nina’s support, Jessica was able to overcome her previous challenges and establish herself as a successful hairdresser in the industry.

The encounter with Nina marked a turning point in Jessica’s life. It not only shaped her career but also influenced her personal growth and development. Nina’s mentorship was more than just about learning a tradeā€”it was about building a lasting relationship based on trust, support, and mutual respect.

Group of diverse students studying together in library

4. Empowerment

After being employed in a salon, she is now earning income and has set her sights on opening her own salon in the future. This opportunity has provided her with the empowerment she needs to pursue her dreams and take control of her own career path. Working in a salon has not only given her financial independence but also the confidence to believe in her abilities and aspirations.

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5. Acknowledgements

I would like to express my gratitude to Youth Alive Uganda and Misean Cara for providing me with the opportunity and support to carry out this project. Their dedication to empowering the youth and improving communities is truly inspiring. Without their assistance, this project would not have been possible.

Special thanks to all the staff members and volunteers at Youth Alive Uganda and Misean Cara who contributed their time and effort to make this project a success. Their expertise and guidance were invaluable in navigating the challenges along the way.

I am also grateful to the individuals who participated in this project and shared their experiences and insights. Your willingness to be part of this research shows a commitment to positive change in society.

Lastly, I want to acknowledge the support of my family and friends who stood by me throughout this journey. Their encouragement and understanding were essential in maintaining my motivation and focus.

Once again, thank you to Youth Alive Uganda and Misean Cara for believing in this project and supporting its implementation. Your partnership has made a difference in the lives of many, and I am truly thankful for the opportunity to be a part of it.

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