The First Lady and minister of education and sports, Janet Kataaha Museveni has called upon Christians to consider a holistic approach in response to poverty challenges affecting young people.
She said that in addition to, “immediate aid to the desperate,” Christians should as well, “give a hand-up in the development of capable, passionate young adults who have a potential to change the world.”
“As a Christian community, we are responsible for our youth not only in the realm of spirituality and faith but also in their productive work as contributing members of society,” she explained.
She, however, foretold the Christians that if they are to achieve a holistic approach to dealing with the needs of the young people, they should brace for investing a lot of time, energy and capital.
The First Lady said that this is important because, helping the needy youth achieve an education alone is not enough for them to compete for success in modern society, but should be coupled with skills relevant to the job market, entrepreneurial education, soft-skill mentorship and economic empowerment.
“Education does not necessarily guarantee the young people positions in companies but they also need entrepreneurial education and job-relevant education to avoid being stuck in jobs that are low-paid and unstable, therefore, the true development of human capital should come through broadening opportunities by properly mentoring young people to become change agents capable of entering an economically driven global society,” she said.
“Young people need role models and mentors who demonstrate a solid work ethic that is able to guide and develop them through character and relationship building so, instead of expecting an opportunity to come to them, youth who are empowered this way, will be able to seize opportunities,” she added.
The First lady made the remarks on Saturday while officiating at the launch of the Hill City Foundation in Kampala.
The non-profit organisation that was started in Nigeria in 2004, not only offers educational support to financially constrained university students but also gives them mentorship, self-discovery, personal development and economic empowerment.
The First Lady handed over 11 scholarships worth sh2.5m each per semester, with nine of the awardees being female from across the country.
According to the chairman of the Hill City Foundation - Uganda Chapter, Andrew Rugasira, the organisation that helped over 1000 youths in Nigeria acquire an education, applies what he called a 4 axis impact to beneficiaries because “there are many talented young people that need help but the help they need is not only school fees that’s why we walk them through identifying these talents and unpacking them.”
Total Uganda’s managing director and founder of Hill City Foundation, Obi Imemba, noted that the need to support disadvantaged young people is based on the fact that their financial predicaments are not their own making.
“We are not any better than the kids we see on streets or the hawkers that endure a daily sweltering heat and rain to make ends meet. We are at times lucky that our parents or any other person helped us be where we are today but that doesn’t mean we are smarter than the underprivileged, therefore, it’s upon each one of us to look out for those needy young people and support them in whichever way we can because they have the potential to be anything they can be for the good of society,” said Obi.
The First Lady applauded the efforts of Hill City Foundation and noted that Africans should stop waiting on foreign aid to solve their challenges but find it within themselves to provide lasting solutions.
“I know that Africa is blessed but because we’ve never known that for God to bless his people, he uses people, that’s why we wait for external solutions yet we have well off people that are not sharing with those in need. Many people remain poor because God has no way to reach them except through people therefore, our children don’t have to suffer from problems they didn’t create when we can help,” she said.
The occasion was also graced by first son-in-law Odrek Rwabwogo and his wife Patience, the state minister for Karamoja, Moses Kizige, and the Fort Portal Municipality MP, Alex Ruhunda.