Enterprising Barbara is creating her own livelihood

Barbara is a great example of what qualities can be found in the disabled children that receive attention at Adina’s Centre in Lira. After attending vocational school, Barbara opened her own hairdressing salon.


We squeeze into the tiny salon that Barbara Akech (17) is running with a friend. The walls are covered in pictures showing every hairstyle imaginable. Inch by inch Barbara braids a perfect replica of one of the creations hanging on the wall, onto her client’s head. The quality of the braids attests to Barbara’s skill in her chosen profession. Not too many years ago the dexterous girl arrived at the Rehabilitation Centre in Lira severely affected by Osteomyelitis. Infection had taken root in one of the girl’s legs, but the family sprang into action and our skilled physiotherapists gave her treatment in time.

There is a steady stream of customers in the little salon. A proud mother Betty visits her daughter at work.

Her mother, Betty, comes by the salon while we are visiting, and she beams with pride over her daughter’s accomplishment. Betty knows that her, now handy and self-sufficient, daughter’s fate might have been something else entirely. Had Barbara not gotten the proper medical care and rehabilitation in time she could have lost her leg, and as a result ended up as a helpless person dependent on her family, becoming the village pariah.

Barbara said yes when our social workers suggested vocational school, and now she is sharing a small salon and tools of the trade with a colleague. There are enough customers for the both of them and the most important part -  Barbara is standing on her own two feet, both in a literal and figurative sense. She has created her own workplace, and is self-sufficient and independent. The Adina Foundation see the results that form from encouraging young people to attend school and learn a vocational trade. Our social workers also point out that young women and girls that learn a trade, and have steady employment, are not as predisposed to be married off too early or against their will. 

A craftsman that knows their craft.At present, five of “Adina’s children” are in the process of a getting a diploma in various fields at the vocational school we cooperate with. Several of them want to become tailors. When the final exam is completed, Adina will acquire a manual sewing machine for each of them, of the kind that runs on muscle power, so it can be used regardless of whether the communities they live in have access to electrical power or not. Yearly we enroll approximately fifteen youths in vocational school.

We say hello to a very motivated gang of young people in the vocational school. The girls and boys come from many different villages, many of which are located far away from the school, resulting in the students needing to stay in dorms on campus. When they finish the education given in basic tailoring, they are asked to choose a specialty, a field within the craft that they would like to excel and be the best at. Specialization is, according to the teacher, the safest way to financial success.Teacher with five motivated students, all of which come from our center.

Young people in a position to earn their own money have a higher status in the villages. This status also stems from the fact that the people of the village know that the young entrepreneurs have learned to master a specific field. This earns them respect.


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