Six years ago, Ndabagyimana Tuyambaze, 36 years old, fled her home country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, running away from violence and starvation. Since then, she has been living with her five children, all under five years old, her husband and two older children that she fosters in the Base Camp of Rwamwanja Refugee Settlement in Uganda’s western district of Kamwenge. Life in the camp is not easy. Tuyambaze’s household lives in dire poverty: their primary source of income is a $55 handout they receive every month from the World Food Program. But their situation is about to change. Ndabagyimana is among the beneficiaries of Graduating to Resilience, a project implemented by AVSI Foundation and funded by the Office of Food for Peace, USAID.
“I am excited to be among the selected beneficiaries of this program,” celebrates Ndabagyimana, who is the sole wage earner of the household, since most of the time she is uncertain of her husband’s whereabouts.
AVSI, leading a consortium including Trickle Up and IMPAQ International, is implementing the Graduating to Resilience project in the Kamwenge District, in Western Uganda. The goal of the project is to graduate impoverished refugee households and vulnerable Ugandan households from conditions of food insecurity and fragile livelihoods to self-reliance and resilience.
On September 6, AVSI finalized a three-year project funded by the European Union in the Republic of the Congo. The project’s main goal was to train and facilitate the inclusion of young adults with disabilities in the labor market through the creation of cooperatives.
“Now I know who I am, a hairdresser. I’m self-sufficient and financially independent”. Elayne is 26 years old; she is deaf and lives in Pointe-Noire, the second largest city in the Republic of the Congo and the main commercial center of the country. In Pointe-Noire, 500 kilometers away from the capital Brazzaville, more than 7,000 young adults with disabilities live among a total population of 800,000 people. Most of them are completely excluded from the labor market and depend on friends and family support. This was Elayne’s life three years ago. She was then accepted in a project funded by the European Union and implemented by AVSI, whose main goal was to integrate young adults like her into the workforce through the creation of cooperatives.
After three years of taking professional courses, Elayne, with 177 other young adults with disabilities, is finally independent. She and her colleagues learned new skills and are now able to work in recently created cooperatives. This amazing outcome is a result of their strong determination and their integration in the project funded by the European Union to improve the social and economical conditions of people with disabilities in the region.
During the three-year project, these 177 young adults learned how to be tailors, carpenters, upholsterers, hairdressers as well as bakers and blacksmiths. AVSI followed them through their journey to become economical independent: from learning new skills to how to manage their recently created cooperatives, which represent the core of the project.
“Those who participated in the project were encouraged to work together in cooperatives, legally recognized by the Government in the Republic of Congo. This way it was easier to reintegrate these young adults in the workforce,” explained Caterina Cipriani, AVSI responsible in the Republic of the Congo.
Read, watch, listen and share news and stories of our work, initiatives and more