Somero Uganda is a grassroots registered Non Governmental Organisation, founded in 2009 by a group of young people from the Kawempe division of Kampala
Mission & vision
Somero Uganda aims to empower slum children and young women to lead a self-determined life. We strive to offer specific education programs, life skills development and health promotion among slum girls and young women in order to improve their conditions of living and rehabilitation as well as to promote education and protection of human rights in their communities.
National Coordinator of Somero Uganda
Nowadays Uganda is working strongly towards reducing a gap between Global South and Global North and we are happy as Somero Uganda to participate in this trend by providing programs that contribute to the local community and help young people link up with youths from outside Kawempe division, the slum of Bwaise, outside our country Uganda and even beyond Africa.
However, while doing so, we’re facing quite a number of challenges. I was born in Bwaise, but I was lucky to be one of the few that had a chance to receive education. I attended school in one of the most prestigious areas of Kampala – Kololo and I was able to witness how children of the rich people enjoy their education and recreational activities. Also, when we visit European countries, we can observe child play centres, safe spaces and other facilities that help the youth there develop their skills and grow up in caring environment.
Today, the youths in Bwaise area have resorted to gambling, drug abuse, prostitution and early sexual intercourse among others, because it’s what is being exposed to most of us as we are going up. The communities have condemned the act, Police and government are arguing that the situation needs to be changed, but no alternative is being offered apart from being stigmatized. There’s no employment, no recreational activities, no safe spaces that can facilitate good growth and development. If we do not stand up to change our own situation the children of our children will follow the same trend. They won’t afford school, will endure sexual exploitation for a meal and will be trafficked in search for a good life and many will commit suicide due to stigma.
These concerns form the basis of our Somero Uganda. We work hard to create a safe space, free from stigma, where the youths can spend their time actively, obtain a good quality education that will help them get decent jobs or start their own businesses and where they can be trained to support their own communities. We are providing education that facilitates change among young people with warm, welcoming hands.
They’re focusing on the primary level – what next? Rich people are paying expensively for the education of their children. We cannot afford it. So this is the challenge that we face. We want our centre to be a place where young mothers and other young people from the area get a chance to improve their lives, change their behavior, obtain new skills and become role models within their communities.
We want our communities to be a place where HIV infected and affected people, commercial sex workers, young mothers, drug addicts among others get a chance to improve their lives, change their behavior, obtain new skills and become role models within their communities.
Even though we have the ideas and we know what our local community needs, it is still quite a challenge to obtain funding for our activities. We know how to help our community. We’ve been born here, we grew up here, we are here and we are not leaving. Please join us in our fight for change!
Somero Uganda runs a community centre in the slums of Bwaise, Kawempe division Kampala district. The centre has different units where the programs are being implemented. These are:
The Youth Information and Sports Corner
This is a safer space for the youth in the community where they meet to share information and exchange ideas, to get information on employment opportunities. The space also has board games and a TV set for the youth for recreation activities. The young people can attend lessons on financial literacy, health and rights, provided by experts on different occasions.
The youth corner is open to both male and female youths and also allows in some adults as a support term.
The Business Unit
This supports the youths’ saving groups under the organisation program to develop marketing and advertising skills and raise capital to set up personal businesses.
The unit allows the youth groups to provide services in secretarial, graphics, computer maintenance and repair as well as video and photo editing to the community.
The money the youth saving groups get from the business deals they get goes to their savings groups to increase their capital.
Livelihood Skills Development Unit
The unit mainly focuses on IT skills development as an unemployment solution for young women.
This trains young Women in IT employable skills. However other traditional vocational skills integrated within the computer literacy are also provided.
Child Play Unit
The unit supports mainly the young mothers under the livelihood trainings, young employed mothers and domestic workers.
The success of these young women is threatened because of the children. The unit provides a safe space for the children to play as the mothers or care-takers continue with their training or work.
The E-learning unit
The unit runs off and online Global Learning programs for the youth on topics, including education, business and health.
" I got pregnant when I was at senior four. I became a disappointment for my family and I had no hopes of going back for an advanced level.
When I found out about Young Mothers project at Somero, I immediately registered for the program at a free cost and started schooling. Best thing was that we used to study from the centre and we were given enough time to attend to our babies.
It wasn’t a an easy journey, but I passed my final exams and shortly after that, Somero helped me find photo editing and videography job. As I write this, I am living a good life in health, able to support my child and family, hoping to start course in Journalism at the University as I just found out I got accepted!
Thank you Somero Uganda for making me the kind of person I am today!"
I had just completed S4, when my mother asked me to deliberately stay home because she could not raise the money for my school fees. During this time I got involved with a boy who got me pregnant but was not ready to be a father, he took me to some place around Entebbe road for an abortion, my family did not know about this, I lied to them that I was visiting a friend but returned home and nursed my wounds secretly until I was healed.
My Aunt told me about the young mothers program at Somero Uganda, first I feared to ask about it because I did not have a living child but when I explained to the Somero team what I was going through, they gave me the chance to join and continue with my studies. Now my future is bright once again.