A total of 670 former commercial sex workers, street children and drug addicts have graduated with certificates in various disciplines.
This was after the students underwent a six-month training with Uganda Youth Development Link (UYDEL) and acquired skills in hair-dressing, plumbing, catering and motorbike mechanics among other fields.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony at the organisation’s main rehabilitation centre in Masooli, the chief guest and chairman board of directors UYDEL, Mr Nathan Twinomugisha, advised the graduands to learn to save, and add value to the skills learnt to favourably compete in the job market.
“Today you are graduating but this is not enough, I encourage you to add value to yourselves and with this you will be able to beat all odds in the job market,” Mr Twinomugisha charged the graduands.
He further challenged them to ensure they “stay alive by not engaging in risky behaviour” that could expose them to death.
Meanwhile, UYDEL executive director Rogers Kasirye said the graduands have been equipped with multiple skills to improve their employability.
“What we are doing is that we are giving them more skills than what the normal vocational schools do because what we have seen is that multiple education can have a big impact,” Mr Kasirye said.
He addded: “All these are skills which will make them more employable so that they can get jobs wherever they may end up.”
Mr Kasirye expressed pride in the results received with 85 per cent of their students already working before they finish school and 47 per cent self-employed after the training.
The graduands were from all the six centres of the organisation including Bwaise, Kawempe, Nateete, Mukono, Kamwokya and Masooli.
The organisation’s mission is to enhance socioeconomic transformation of disadvantaged young people through skills development for self-reliance and targets Youth aged between 10-24 years who are vulnerable to exploitation and consequently to HIV/Aids specifically children commercially sexually exploited, victims of trafficking and other worse forms of child labour.