. ’’Am now able to buy for myself a dress and my children without waiting for my husband, my children are able to take milk at least four times in a week.’’
Nakabambwe Jennifer is 21 years old and is married to Mr. Mpulimbi Karim who lives in Mabirizi Village. In her words, she notes that “COFCAWE has been supportive to me especially the staff. They usually call to check on us and do their routine visits to my workshop. At some point, they advised me on family issues and I was invited for a parents’ training and since then, my life has not remained the same.’’
Jennifer revealed that she got married at a tender age (17 years) and despite her husband being a secondary teacher, she hardly got even the very basics of life. ’It was very hard for me to get clothes, food, and the situation worsened when we got children.’’
Jennifer came to know about COFCAWE during mobilisation of teenage mothers in Mabirizi village through the local leaders. She was later enrolled in the tailoring class which she completed successfully. COFCAWE is working in Mabirizi because it is with in Busakira sub county, a programme area in Mayuge.
Jennifer was one of the vulnerable teenage mothers spotted during the screening exercise thus the need to support her. She went through the skills training(tailoring), training in financial literacy, group dynamics. Jennifer was also given a sewing machine and is also part of the VSLA group that received seed grant so she is able to access loans. The skills training was for six months and the support is ongoing because there is continuous monitoring and support as and when needed s regards to her business.
Jennifer is in position to buy household requirements together with her husband. ’’Am now able to buy for myself a dress and my children without waiting for my husband, my children are able to take milk at least four times in a week.’’My husband was positive because he later joined me in tailoring. During COVID period, schools were closed and being a teacher, we were short of funds so we agreed together with him and I taught him how to sew. He bought another machine and we started working together so our family income has increased.
Jennifer shared that the most significant moment was when she started earning income from the vocational skill. It was at that time when things turned around for her and her family. ’’We sit and decide together with my husband because I contribute to family income”. I desperately need to see my community fight teenage pregnancies and early marriages because sometimes girls are pushed into marriage by parents and authorities cover up for them.’’
My plan for the future is to learn making bridal wears and to start training others. The biggest lesson Jenifer learnt was to work and plan together with her husband ‘’I learnt that working together with my husband in a transparent way is very vital and important if we are to realise any progress.’’
Jennifer encourages teenagers to desist from early marriage ‘’First of all, I would urge young girls to be patient, not to get married at an early age but stay in school if there is still an opportunity.’’ ‘’If they (teen mums) choose to get married, let them make themselves of value in their homes for example contributing to family income.’’