Work skills give hope and opportunity to young mothers

Young mothers receive training in tailoring from Blessed Life Foundation

Rehema Nabunya’s own childhood struggles led to her to launch an organisation in Uganda that empowers young women, with support from Theirworld’s Small Grants Programme.

When Rehema Nabunya was a young girl in Uganda, she saw her single teenage mother struggle to earn enough money to feed the family.

The experience inspired her to start the Blessed Life Foundation Uganda, which creates opportunities for young village women by teaching them the skills needed for work.

Over the past year, the foundation has been training 125 young mothers from Wakiso District in tailoring and hairdressing, with support from Theirworld’s Small Grants Programme. It awards grants of up to £10,000 to registered charities and non-profits helping disadvantaged and overlooked young people around the world.

Rehema said: “Growing up in a family of a single mother, I felt what it means to have nowhere to start to feed your children. I saw my mother go through a lot bringing us up – she struggled in order to see us through school.

Thanks to Theirworld and my teachers, I am now going to start earning from my skills.

Nambogo Barbrah, 23

“We found it difficult to have a decent meal, to have enough food at home. Along with our mother‘s mood swings, it really affected us at a tender age.”

Rehema established Blessed Life Foundation Uganda in 2013. She said: “My personal experience led me to start the foundation and has helped us reach out to more young girls and single mothers in the communities we serve. This soothes my soul.”

One in four girls in Uganda become pregnant by the age of 19 – the highest teenage pregnancy rate in East Africa. Young mothers face significant isolation and many drop out of school and struggle to find work.

As well as hairdressing and tailoring, Blessed Life Foundation empowers teenage mothers through training in craft and IT. It also supports financial literacy so women can apply for business grants, assists them in accessing health and justice services, and provides academic resources for mothers and children who missed out on education.

The foundation has been training 125 young mothers from Wakiso District in tailoring and hairdressing

The foundation has reached more than 1,000 people in Wakiso District, in Uganda’s central Region, where opportunities for young women are vital because of a lack of jobs and income streams. 

One of them is 29-year-old Nakitende Evelyn, who has learned to sew through the Theirworld-supported training. She said: “Now I know how to make my own designs and fashions, helped by my teachers. I thank Theirworld because as single mothers we can now take care of our families.” 

Rehema has been particularly inspired by a 19-year-old woman who has been learning hairdressing. 

“She gave birth at 16 and lives with her mother, who has cancer and is unable to take care of her family,” said Rehema. “This young girl came to the foundation so that she could get support and joined in the hairdressing. 


Total of Small Grants Programme awards since 2004

“Her uncle started a salon for her, where she works and takes care of her sick mother and her other siblings.”

Rehema added: “We would like to build a training centre so we can reach even more young women from far places, as many still need our support.”

The Small Grants Programme awards between £1,000 and £10,000 to charities or non-profits at the discretion of Theirworld’s trustees.

Meet our other 2022-23 Smalls Grants Programme organisations.