Serving Youth At The Margins

In the month of August 2019, we had the opportunity to facilitate our first business start-up training in a refugee camp. Two months ago a young man came all the way from Nakivale to attend a business start up class in Kampala. We were amazed by his commitment and devotion. He told us about his community and we promised to visit.

This month we visited Nakivale refugee camp to facilitate our pilot class in the camp. Nakivale is the second largest refugee settlement camp in Africa, a home to over 120,000 families from Congo, Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia and Eritrea. We only trained 30 youth in this pilot phase.

Like other communities, youth make up over 70% of the population in the refugee camp. These young people have amazing dreams, aspirations and business ideas that can be used to lift themselves out of poverty. Many have taken the time to analyse the challenges in the camp and developed possible solutions that can be turned into revenue streams.

Some of the business concepts represented in the class included waste management and up-cyling of waste into reusable products, using film production and comedy as a means to treating trauma that is rampant in the camps, a basketball as a means of keeping youth in school, providing stationery services, providing water filers, green energy services, adult education services, language classes among others.

We were challenged and inspired by each of these young people. Their resilience in the face of difficulty is something to reckon. They are full of life and hope. They make the most of what they have as they wait with expectation for their relocation to communities that can enable them thrive. The young people are not complaining but rather innovating.

We recognise a need for the Kyusa trainings and we aspire to work more closely with the youth initiatives in these camps. We not only want to train more entrepreneurs but also want to train some of them to become trainers as a way of ensuring sustainability of the programs in the camps.