TOGETHER WE CAN HELP THE YOUTHIt is so disheartening and unfortunate to know that a considerable percentage of the youth inour beloved country of Uganda and the world at large comprises victims of misfortunes such asphysical and mental disabilities, neglect, displacement due to wars, and poverty among others.However, it would be more disheartening if those with the ability to help the underprivilegedyouth just looked on as if everything were alright.Since helping these youth does not only necessarily have to be in terms of finances, I believethat it is an obligation for everyone to offer help to these youths.The underprivileged youth groups I am focusing on are found among the Nubian community,one of Uganda’s minority tribes. These youth groups live near Entebbe town and are schooldrop-outs. The Nubians live adjacent to Kitubulu Forest Reserve. Many youths have droppedout of school after Primary level because they cannot afford secondary education fees (averageof USD 130 per year).AIDS has also been a factor affecting many households. This often robs the family of the mainbread winner leaving the home impoverished. This situation has further increased the high rateof school drop outs.The people who have been the first victims are girls. The reason is more cultural than financial.The Nubian girl is taught not to waste time in school but to make mats, crafts, plait hair, bakeand get married. As soon as a parent is faced with having to prioritize his family needs, a girl isgiven the least consideration as it is believed by many that, at least she can get married. Sincetheir dominant faith permits polygamy, they end up being third or fourth wives and the cycle ofpoverty continues because they cannot acquire very good jobs since they are not welleducated.The boy is kept in school for as long as it is practically possible as he is expected to settle in life.However, several other factors force them out of school. The leading factor is poverty whichdenies the youth an opportunity to acquire higher education or employable skills. Thesevulnerable groups need to acquire practical skills which will empower them, make thememployable and self reliant.First of all, setting up of social duties such as sports clubs and encouraging these youths to jointhem will overcome the problem of anti-social behaviour such as smoking, drug abuse andjoining bad peer groups. Apart from keeping them busy and helping them to target their
misery, the social clubs will help them to exploit their different talents for example in sports,which may earn them a living if they choose sports as their occupation.Apart from that, encouraging these youths to collect certain waste materials such as useddrinking straws, plastic bottles, and boxes among others and recycle them to make decorationmaterials, gifts and decoration flowers for sale. Scrap metals can also be collected and used tomake children’s toys and other materials for sale to fight the problem of poverty and to keepthem busy while in the same way conserving environment.By organizing workshops to avail unto these youths various entrepreneurship skills to enablethem to set up small scale income generating businesses which can gradually grow bigger. Suchskills will include art and crafts which is a very good source of income; tailoring for the girls,carpentry and other vocational training for the boys.Another possible way is encouraging these youths to practice agriculture to fight the problemof hunger and poverty. Crops such as maize, cassava and sweet potatoes will be emphasizedbecause they can withstand drought conditions and can be stored for a long time without themgetting spoilt. The crops may be consumed or sold for money.To conclude, I believe that the above are some of the possible ways in which theunderprivileged youths in Kitubulu will be helped to forget their misery and to earn a livingwhile enjoying a good life. Parents should be mainly targeted so as to encourage these youthsto get educated and later get involved in gainful employment. I therefore call upon the entireworld to join hands so as to see to it that these youths live better lives.LUYINDA DEAN16 yearsS.4 VacationSt. Henry’s College KitovuUganda.