Saturday, December 17, 2011

Skills Development Graduation Packages

The last time I was in Uganda, I’d spent much time visiting Bugembe Prison and working with Carpenter John to establish a skills development training program. He was surprised to learn that some of the prisoners had certificates in skilled trades and that they were willing and eager to teach others their trade. Prisoners teaching prisoners. They’ve been working in this program since I left them in September and have made quite a bit of progress.

Following our worship service together, the men were eager to show me the progress they’d made. Without an income, they continue to practice only on Torroro cement bags, but were so excited when I inspected each sample and praised their work. The cobras proudly paraded their shoes – shined and repaired – in front of me for inspection and praise as well.

I surprised Carpenter John – who will surprise the prisoners – with “graduation” packages for those having completed a skills training program. What this means is that a donor has provided funding for all the materials needed for the first five cobras and the first five tailors to have a small package of startup materials and equipment so that when they leave prison they have some way to earn a living for themselves. What a great way to surprise someone you love for Christmas – with a gift that gives to others.

Even Carpenter John got a little work out of the deal. He made the boxes to hold the cobra supplies. Carpenter John has no job and spends his days ministering in the prisons and with various other ministry groups – I’ve been introduced to many of them – so being hired for this small project was a gift to him as well.