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Masaka Vocational and Rehabilitation Centre (MVRC)
Location:Masaka, Uganda Setting: Rural Established: 2000 Staff: 10
Throughout Uganda, there is a detrimental stigma associated with physical and mental disabilities. Parents of children born with these disabilities often consider them to be an embarrassment to the family and think of them as “useless.” Masaka Vocational Rehabilitation Center(MVRC) has been working since the year 2000 to empower these disabled people with valuable vocational skills and thus reverse the stigma associated with disability. MVRC teaches its clients valuable skills such as sewing, weaving, carpentry, and leather working. MVRC then sells the products of this instruction such as dolls, clothing, tables, chairs, sandals, belts, etc. to sustain its teaching activities. MVRC’s clients are also taught about basic business skills and upon graduating from MVRC, many of its clients have started very successful businesses based upon the training they have received.
Youth and Education: Vocational training, civic talks, Functional Adult Literacy (FAL)
Community Development: Train students and parents to make group projects
Environment and Agriculture Advocate for the government to make public places accessible for people with disabilities
The Masaka Vocational and Rehabilitation Centre (MVRC) aims to assist mentally and physically handicapped youths aged 15 to 25 to learn a vocational skill so that they may be able to support themselves economically. Their Mission is to bring out ability for the economic and social integration of young people with disabilities. The Centre’s motto is “Ability from disability”. Their services are vocational skills in carpentry, computer studies, screen printing, leather work and mental works. MVRC’s specific objectives are to:
• Empower disabled youth to empower themselves
• Provide quality training in vocational programs
• Teach valuable life skills so that students can integrate into society
I. Youth and Education
MVRC offers vocational training for both boys and girls. The areas offered are carpentry, computer studies, leatherwork, screen printing, tailoring and knitting. Learning these skills helps the students build confidence in themselves and their ability. The centre tries to sell the goods made to help support its activities and the students. Additionally, students are educated about health and hygiene, social skills, HIV/AIDS and business skills.
• Assist with the teaching of vocational programs
• Help to market and sell the products made by the students
• Conduct supplementary educational sessions with the students
• Assess the efficacy and impact of the centre’s programs
• Identify and implement ways for the centre to become self-sustaining
• Background in business, specifically marketing
• Experience working with mentally and physically disabled youth
• Experience facilitating trainings or educational sessions
• Creative and flexible
II. Community Development
MVRC is committed to community development and strives to respond to community needs by sensitizing community members to form groups, make income generating activities where they can earn a living. From that point, MVRC seeks to empower communities through advocacy, networking with other NGOs, writing proposals and assisting with implementation. Its target population mainly is the communities around like.
• Help in designing programs
• Knowledge of forming the executive
• Knowledge on community based rehabilitation
III. Environment and Agriculture
MVRC aims to help communities, the disabled ones and individuals position themselves to produce enough nutritious food to sustain them as well as to sell to earn a living. This project is especially important for those living HIV/AIDS and the disabled.
• Conduct on-site trainings on nutrition
• Assess the skills and resources of MVRC and its clients and develop potential income generating activities (IGAs) involved with agriculture
• Assist staff to develop new programs to diversify their impact
• Background in agriculture or environment
• Experience conducting trainings
• Strong research and assessment skills
MVRC has a beautiful and quiet compound where the students stay and learn. It is 2km from Masaka town and easily accessible. Mainly offices open up from 9:00am -430:pm, They spend like five hours in office and three hours in the field. The organizations culture is professional. The many buildings have power and there is a computer in the main office but interns are encouraged to bring a laptop if they have one.
Mr. Apollo Kamanya holds a degree in public Administration, has a diploma in Education, and an advanced certificate in carpentry. He joined the organization in 2005 till date as the centre manager.
MVRC opened in May 2000 to provide vocational skills to the mentally and physically disabled youth in Masaka District. Since its inception, MVRC has educated more than 400 young people and helped them to integrate into society and support themselves. Many of the graduates now own businesses across the district. It gets funding from Masaka district local government of 1.5m per month and from Uganda society disabled children (USDC).
About MVRC’s Clients:
MVRC plays a vital role in ensuring the disabled are treated like all other citizens. Often disabled children are hid and not entered into school to avoid causing the family embarrassment. MVRC management goes directly into rural areas to find their students who are either being withheld from living a full life or have not been given a chance like the Centre provides. The vocational and social skills learned at MVRC help these youth become part of society. All MVRC clients speak English.
Some previous projects initiated by FSD interns with MVRC have included:
-The construction of a water harvester which provides a stable supply of water to MVRCs organic garden. This garden provides much needed nutrition to MVRCs clients and provides MVRC with an additional source of income to sustain its activities.