BY OBED KITHENDE
Internally displaced women encamped at Muhokya Transit Camp in Muhokya Town Council, Busongora County South in Kasese district are embarking on a journey of empowerment through the acquisition of vocational skills demonstrating remarkable success in the face of hardships.
The displaced persons were on May 07, 2020 affected by floods from the major rivers of Nyamwamba and Mubuku among others. The victims in the camp are mostly from Kanyangeya Main Cell in Nyamwamba Division, Karusandara and Maliba.
After reaching Muhokya Internally Displaced Camp, a diverse group of women from the 224 households with a population of 1,383 people each with unique strengths and challenges came together to transform themselves into sustainable entrepreneurs.
This transformation was achieved through a project that focuses on weaving baskets and carrions which is implemented by CARITAS Kasese, a Civil Society Organization affiliated to the Catholic Diocese of Kasese.
After spending a year in the camp, CARITAS Kasese visited the camp and began training a group of women in the art of basket weaving, which later became their primary source of income.
Ms. Felesta Muhindo, a 52-year-old mother of seven, and her husband, Mr. Aston Miregho, 67 years old, were residents of Kanyangeya cell before coming to the camp. They lost their five-roomed house, which Muhindo had constructed using her savings from selling agricultural produce from the Mubuku Irrigation scheme. She now narrates how she has managed to sustain herself through basket weaving while in the camp.
Muhindo explains that, after acquiring the skill of weaving, she can
make a basket within three days. Muhindo uses materials of shillings 3,000 to make a basket and later sells it at 10,000 at minimum.
Mrs. Josephine Mbambu Kule, another member of the group and a mother of four, explains that her husband, Mr. Jockus Kule, aged 40, had
some difficulties in finding work while in the camp. However, through basket weaving, they found a thriving market for their products within the camp.
According to her, after having obtained skills in basket weaving, they formed a group of 17 members and established a Savings and Credit Group called Muhokya Camp Thulemberane which will soon be registered legally.
Mrs. Yayeri Masika, a 50-year-old widow with eight children and three grandchildren, who now serves as the SACCO chairperson, recounts how floods destroyed her two-roomed house in Kanyangeya cell, Nyamwamba Division.
Ms. Rehema Aryema Namale, the Camp Chairperson, expresses gratitude for the care they have received from the government during their nearly three-year stay in the camp. However, she appeals to the government to expedite their resettlement process to enable them become self-reliant, as they have not received food support for the past eight months.
Rev. Fr. Anyesio Mbusa, the Director of CATITAS Kasese, explains that they decided to provide hands-on skills training to the people in the
camp in order to boost their wellbeing since they had lost all their property to floods and landslides. According to him, the project has started yielding positive results, as the mothers who received basket weaving training are now taking their products to different markets in the district. ENDS