It was pomp and glamour as 417 candidates, majority women, graduated in the ‘Love Binti Program’ at Makerere University main Campus on Saturday.
Of these, 415 were women and two young males. They graduated from three different branches of Love Binti International, Including; 177 were from Makerere University branch, 145 from Harvest Church Fellowship, Kabalagala and 95 from the mobile branch which is currently located in Kikaya.
These graduated with three collective skills Including; tailoring, entrepreneurship and health education.
Joseph Watuleke, the Executive Director of Love Binti International, at Makerere University told the congregation that the program since its inception in June 2018 has trained over 1180 students, majority being female.
“At Love Binti International, we prioritize empowering women, to help them become self sustaining because an economically health empowered woman is a gatepass to collective development,” he said.
As they empower women, the program, Wakuleke said has opened doors to men who also want to benefit since the two genders co-exist with one another.
“Our strategy is to empower a girl child through provision of skills, provided in three modules; tailoring, entrepreneurship and health education, which are all compulsory because we realised most of the diseases that disturbing our home steads are avoidable,” Watuleke emphasized.
At a joyous function held at Makerere University Freedom Square, on Saturday, the excited gradaunds shared moments of joy, danced as they sung in praises for the almighty.
“I joined this program when I don’t know even how to read and write. Today I not only know those two but can and have also sowed my own cloth,” remarked Faridah Namanda, one of the graduants.
“I can make clothes and sell them to earn a living, my life has really changed,” she added.
“I didn’t know that while making a gown, you have to apply measures. We calculate and apply real mathematics, we have become scientists. I take this opportunity to thank Makerere University and Love Binti International for this initiative which has shaped our future,” Beatrice Mukasa Nakiito, another graduand excitedly said.
The graduants, who had been accompnied by their parents thanked the University and Love Binti International for thinking about the under previlidged group of women and young men who had failed to study, due to tuition constraints.
In this three months program, Love Binti International paid all the tuition and the beneficiaries get the materials.
In her remarks, Elle Yang, the Director of Love Binti International thanked the graduands and management for being reselient especially during the two years of lockdown.
“The two years were crazy, classes were halted but you stood firm and peacefully waited and here we are,” she said adding,
“I want to thank you for the basic skills you have learnt and implemented. We were discussing if students should really pay tuition and chose to agree with the guest of honor that really students do not need to pay tuition but just bring materials to help their smooth learning,” she added.
Adding her voice to Yang’s remarks, Taiwan based Sara Liu, the Chairperson of Love Binti International urged Graduants to practice what they have learnt thoroughly to better their lives.
While officiating the Graduation, Hannington Twine Bananuka, the Dean School of Distance and Lifelong Learning at Maerere University appreciated the efforts brought by Love Binti International, which are partly helping Makerere realize some of its objectives, like being a people centred University.
“What we are doing here today is what defines the people centered University. We are delivering education to all Ugandans the dress (gown) you are putting on is just a sign of what is inside,” he said adding,
“From what we are seeing here (innovations), you have shown us that you are professionals. I am happy that the program deals in women empowerment and as Makerere we have done our part,”
Promoting women empowerment through entrepreneurship, health and skills development, he said are among the gears of economic development.
“Government is emphasizing on Parish Development Model and as Makerere University we are key stakeholders in ensuring the success of this program so i implore you to go and participate in it,” he said.
“Go flourish, work and change your lives, families and the whole world,” he said.