Over the last three years, the Creative Learning Centres (CLC) we run with our partner network CRANE have helped more than 2,700 out-of-school girls in Kampala receive catch-up education. More than six in ten girls have gone onto ‘graduate’ to some kind of further learning, and we continue to support those who are yet to.
Behind each number is a girl whose life is being changed for the better. One girl, Claire, chatted with CRANE’s Patrick Byekwaso about becoming a young mum, learning new skills and getting a good job.
Tell us a little about yourself, Claire
I’m 21 years old, mother to three year-old David whom I love very much. I’m currently a loans officer at a local microfinance bank in my community.
Going back a few years, how was life for you?
Not good. I dropped out of school when I became pregnant and had no hope of going back to school. At my parents’ home, I could get some food to eat, but the diet was not the best for me and David. Without an education or a job, how could I give him a better life?
What did you do next?
I looked for any available opportunity to go back to school and decided to visit a secondary school near my home. I didn’t have any money for school fees, but wanted to find out what was required to join. The people in the school office introduced me to a mentor from the local Creative Learning Centre who took time to find out what was troubling me. That is when he invited me to join the CLC.
How did the CLC help you?
Everything there was good – from the way they taught us to the way they treated us. They even allowed me to come with my baby, and to take breaks to care for him. I learnt so many things, including literacy and numeracy, arts and crafts, and about trusting God for everything. It gave me hope again.
What did you do after completing your six months at the CLC?
The CLC helped me join a secondary school. A ‘Good Samaritan’ paid my school fees up to my O Level exams. After passing them, I opted to do an apprenticeship with a microfinance bank that was opening in my community. I started training as a loans officer in January 2016 and am now working there. If I had not gone through the CLC, I would never have got such a job.
How has this impacted your family?
I am very happy now that I am earning money and able to take care of David and meet most of his needs. I am also able to assist my parents in meeting some of the domestic needs at home.
What are your hopes and dreams?
I want to pursue further studies and get a certificate in banking. This will equip me with the knowledge that I need to do my job better and advance my career. But for now, I am going to try my best to start a piggery and poultry farm where I can get some more money to support my son and the wider family.
Patrick Byekwaso is CRANE’s Communications Officer
We believe that for education to increase the life chances of children at risk, it needs to be engaging and creative, considering the unique needs of each child, and embraced at community level. Viva runs its CLC programme with CRANE, its partner network in Uganda, as part of the Girls’ Education Challenge, run globally by the British Government’s Department of International Development (DFID). In addition to the centres, we’ve also trained 400 mainstream teachers in creative learning methods, mentored hundreds of families about economic sustainability and set up a mobile resource library used by thousands of children.