Teenager, Jacob*’s future looked uncertain when his single mother became sick and lost her job at a tailoring company. Jacob had already dropped out of school and they didn’t know how they would pay the rent on their little place in the slum. When Jacob’s little brother began coming along to Kids Club Kampala’s Encouraging Education Project, Jacob would walk with him to and from the classroom every day. It was around this time that some of the staff at the project told him about Kids Club Kampala’s carpentry training programme. Here Jacob tells his story in his own words:
‘My name is Jacob*, I live in Kampala and I am very happy to be a Carpenter.
Before I joined the Kids Club Kampala Carpentry project I used to just stay at home doing nothing. I had dropped out of school in Primary 5 at age 13 because I had no money for school fees. I did not feel good being idle at home. At that time I felt so hopeless. At the same time my mother had fallen sick and lost her job with a tailoring company, she had been replaced by someone else and we had no hope of her getting her job back. We felt so hopeless. In 2016, I heard about the Kids Club Kampala carpentry project. My little brother was going to Kids Club Kampala’s Encouraging Education Project every day and I used to walk to collect him. That’s when one of the social workers told me that they were enrolling at the Carpentry Project.
After I started at the Carpentry Project I felt so good. I felt like I could be in charge of my future and work hard, I now had hope. And by that time my mother had started recovering from sickness too. I gained hope again. I felt so good that I was not only studying but I knew that because I was learning something practical I would be able to get a job after I finish. Even before I started training at the carpentry project I used to be so interested in carpentry. I would practice at home making small boxes. Carpentry is an ancient tradition, even Jesus was a carpenter. So when I started learning at the project I was excited to expand my skills.
The moment I got my graduation certificate I felt great. Having an official certificate made me feel proud and meant that I could go out and show this certificate to employers in order to get a job. It didn’t take me too long to get a job afterwards at a carpentry workshop. I have now been working there since December 2018. At work I now spend my time making bunk beds, closets, stools and double beds. At my work station I work together with Caleb* who is also a graduate from the KCK Carpentry Project. We take orders from the boss at the workshop and we also take our own orders from individual customers.
Having this job has really changed my life, at times it means that I can help my family and help my mother with the rent and also help my brother to pay his school fees. The good news is that my mum also recovered and is well again and she even got her job back at the tailoring company! As I look to the future I am looking forward to becoming an even better carpenter. I love carpentry and I want to become even more skilled. This is what I want to do!
When I think about what Hope means to me it is something that never fades away. Today you might feel very weary and feel like giving up but God can perform something even at the last minute for you.
God bless Kids Club Kampala, because of them a lot has been added to my life.’
We love to share stories of change like Jacobs, and we are working hard to help more young guys change their futures through the Carpentry Project. We have just begun enrolling for a new intake of students from Kampala’s slums. Each of them are coming from situations just like Jacobs. We don’t have the complete secured funding to make sure this next course goes ahead. We need your help and we are fundraising now. Please donate today to our ‘Skills For My Future’ campaign. Thank you.