When travelling around in Uganda, we would rarely see children alone. Most of them were hanging in groups. No wonder – there are many children in sub-saharan Africa where live the world’s youngest populations, and still growing. Unfortunately youth unemployment rates here are also the highest. There is no doubt that children are the untapped pool of talent. Talent, however, have to be given an opportunity to develop and grow.
In the Northern Uganda, unfortunately, there are more obstacles for this than in other parts of the country. To the common difficult conditions adds up the stigma that the region bares in the eyes of the rest of the country. This stigma comes due to the recent civil war, as it is said that the leader of government opposing forces came from here. The victims now are the ordinary people – those who had nothing to do with the war, but suffered any way. During the war they were forced to settle in camps, faced malnutrition and hunger, many lost their relatives, the suffering brought high levels of alcoholism. Now, after the war, they are being neglected by the government and are last in line for any kind of support. We heard many stories how difficult it is for young talented people here – even after they study hard and graduate from high school with best grades and win scholarships to go to universities in the capital, upon arrival there they are exposed to bullying just because they come from the North. No wonder that the issue of stigma and hopelessness was so often mentioned as some of the biggest problems that our partner communities face.