Supporting disabled people and refugees in Uganda

In October 2012, Mondo ventured into social entrepreneurship by opening a cafe that employs young people with special needs. The cafe was opened in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, with the help of Estonians. The cafe was advised by a management board comprised of representatives of two schools for disabled children – Bluesky School and Kampala School for physically disabled children. The cafe’s employees were the alumni of these schools. The opening of the cafe and everyday work was supported from March 2012 to January 2014 by two volunteers deployed by Mondo – Siisi Saetalu and Aliine Lotman.

 

In January 2014, it was decided to discontinue with the cafe project due to financial reasons. A year later with the support from Mondo volunteers, we opened an organisation called KDI (Kampala Disabled Initiatives) that offers  handcraft and sewing services. Six founding members of the organisations were the graduates of Kampala School for physically disabled children, one of them also a former employee of the cafe. The sewing studio was set up with the help of Mondo volunteer Kadi Epler and the product development process was assisted by Liina Viira, an Estonian serving as a volunteer in Uganda.

 

In February and March of 2017, KDI’s activities were supported by our volunteer Olle Kaidro, who helped scout for new shops to sell the products as well as plan the organisation’s financial sustainability.

 

In 2017-2018, Mondo, with funds from Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, supported carrying out a sewing training for 20 people, half of whom were disabled young people. As a pilot project, we also started collaboration with a disabled sewing group in Gulu, northern Uganda. 5 members of Lugoro Tutte Disabled group completed a complementary machine sewing and knitting course and a beginner level sewing course was completed by 5 special needs members of the community. Donations to Mondo Brilliant Fund were used to construct a boarding school facility (including bunk beds, mattresses and mosquito nets) to Kikooba secondary school – this enables at least 20 children, who live further away, to start school.

 

In 2018, Mondo began sending volunteers to Uganda with the EU Aid Volunteers programme. Mondo’s volunteer projects have been supported by our local partner Uganda Pioneers Association since 2012.

With support from Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in collaboration with Tallinn University and private sector experts, Mondo developed an innovative digital competencies course for refugee youth. Digital competencies course gives the young refugees practical skills that help them overcome professional and personal challenges as well as support their independence in the long term.

 

In Uganda, the digital programme is being conducted in collaboration with Finn Church Aid in two refugee settlements – Rwamwanja and Kyaka II. Altogether, the programme benefits 750 vocational school students a year. Together with Estonian ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mondo donated 20 smartphones to both computer classes of the refugee settlements. In both of the settlements, the participants of the digital programme are mainly refugees from Congo, while 30% of the students are Ugandans living in the area. In Uganda, we have created a team of 3 members to train teachers for the digital competencies programme.