Rella Rights 4 Women's Foundation officially launched the Kwan Hebwa Academy in Kampala on Wednesday 7th October 2020. Following the set SOPs, the brunch affair was attended by a limited number of Rella's staff, membership, beneficiaries from the Hebwa program and a few partners.
The Kwan Hebwa project currently under the Hebwa (Empower Her) program will run in the next 6 months and seeks to promote gainful self-employment towards economic development and financial independence through appropriate skilling for the LBQ women.
In her introductory remarks, Winfred Mugambwa, the Programs Director at Rella Rights 4 Women Foundation said that poverty is one of the power gap dynamics that affects all human beings physically, emotionally and socially. "... It's one of the reasons one will remain a slave to either a person or to a government because they depend on them,"Ms Mugambwa noted. She further asserted that the launch of this initiative is not only an achievement for Rella but also for the LBQ community and the women's rights movement as a whole since all women are going to benefit from it.
Mugambwa also explained that the 17 SDG goals cannot be attained without closing the eradication gap of poverty which interlocks with the all the other objectives. She noted that due to discrimination and stigma, many LBQ women have been denied access to some resources and this has greatly affected their economic growth.
Patricia, Director of the Hebwa program also briefed the gathering on the relevance of the project which will offer creative and innovative solutions to foster skills development through mentorships, employment opportunities and linkages for financial independence of those who will enroll.
The Executive Director of Rella Rights 4 Women Foundation, Joan Amek unveiled how the academy will run and what it shall entail. In her presentation, Joan emphasized that the initiative will focus on giving all women a chance to make, create and pave paths in ways they understand. "When we connect Empower Her to the Kwan Hebwa program, we empower and enable each other as women. At the end of the day as we go out there in our personal businesses, together, we can make magic with all these skills at our finger tips," Ms. Amek said.
In cohorts, participants will be called to apply through expression of interest in the program. The first 3 months in the Kwan Hebwa academy will be used to help participants align their mindsets to the Empower Her project goals. This will be through raising their self-awareness and realization of what they want for themselves. Thereafter, an incubation period will enable participants to creatively acquire sets of different skills while they improve on those that they already have. To conclude the program, Rella will help participants to ensure that they implement and engage in business ventures of personal interest in their respective communities.
Beneficiaries of the program also shared testimonies of the skills they have acquired and how taking part in the Hebwa program has transformed their lives. "During this previous period, there was no money nor work and I wanted to do something. I heard of the Hebwa program in August when there was some training. I have now learnt to make beads and t-shirt printing and I can afford whatever I want through this business," Gimbo, one of the beneficiaries shared.
Another testimony from Ann, also a beneficiary from the same initiative, "I have learnt that as women, we need to empower one another. Right now at home, I and my house mate are trying a hand at t-shirt printing and I am so grateful."