Sunday, October 2, 2011
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Monday, August 15, 2011
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Unemployment is a pretty massive problem in Uganda. I would say that someone asks me for a job on a weekly basis. Friends of friends, relatives of employees, people on the street…. People in Uganda want the opportunity to work. From the uneducated to the most educated, this stands true.
This past week, we held interviews for four new positions on our production team. The day before interviews, we told our staff and a couple friends that we were taking open applications. We ended up interviewing 23 people. And their life/work experience was all over the board. Some were young women who never finished primary school and had been working in factories or in the worst case as prostitutes. Some were elderly widows with countless mouths to feed and bills to worry about. And (most shocking to me) some were recent university graduates. These bright young women with bachelor’s degrees were applying to make sandals, to work with their hands 40 hours a week.
Why? Because in Uganda, even if you get a university education, that doesn’t ensure a sustainable job. I talked about this issue to one of our managers, Agnes, who is a recent grad… She said that out of the 20 people who recently finished her same degree plan, only 3 now have jobs in that field. The rest are doing jobs that are unrelated to their degrees, or waiting tables, or unemployed and moving back to the village.
Yes, attending university is a HUGE stepping stone. And yes, our girls at Sseko are far FAR better off getting their degrees, than if they weren’t pursuing higher education… because it actually gives them a chance at success. So don’t worry, I’m not second guessing Sseko’s mission- I’m still fully supportive of it and clearly incredibly passionate about this main mission of Sseko, but our secondary vision of employing vulnerable women is quickly gaining in my esteem.
For the most part, people in this country really want to work. There just aren't good opportunities out there... So if I'm being totally honest, I'd be so much more excited to support someone coming to Uganda to do business development than just about anything else. Yes, operating a company in Uganda is incredibly challenging, but its also incredibly rewarding. But if you're not the entrepreneurial type, then support these business in Uganda who together are employing hundreds of women and making an incredible difference in this country.
Sseko Designs (obviously)
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
But telling the girls made it real... that in less than a month I'll be moving back to the US. I'll be in Austin, looking for a new job, learning a new place, and making new friends. This is going to be a big transition. And I've been feeling all over the map about it. The feelings of excitement are mingled in with feelings of sadness.
I'm not going to write a "reflections" blog just yet, because I still have time here. I don't want to start a count down or anything like that, because I want to be present where I am. And making that hard announcement to the Sseko ladies made me want that even more... Not to check out. To stay engaged in my work and my relationships here until I board the plan... To really soak up my last month in Uganda.
A month can be full of so many things, and I am so looking forward to exploring this one.