Youth Fraternity for Change was founded in 2014 with the aim of promoting girls’ leadership and education, ending violence against women, and creating opportunities for economic empowerment. YFCU seeks to protect and advance girls’ rights through advocacy, capacity building, and projects focused on building girl’s self-sufficiency and independence. YFCU’s programs include financial lending for girl and women entrepreneurs, vocational training, cash assistance for women-led businesses, refugee resettlement support, and leadership training for young women. In 2022, YFC started and implemented the “Dare to Dream” initiative in the Oruchinga Refugee Settlement, located in the Isingiro District of Southwestern Uganda. The main components of Dare to Dream are academic and social clubs within community schools. These clubs encourage learners, most often girls, to think about potential career paths with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). YFCU has established four Dare to Dream Clubs and has reached over 400 students.
Education access is an ongoing challenge in Uganda even though there is a universal education policy in place at the national level which requires every child, regardless of gender, to enroll in school. The Covid-19 pandemic exacerbated existing difficulties due to school closures and socioeconomic challenges. Many girls from financially disadvantaged families have not returned to school since the pandemic started. Families have a difficult time affording basics like uniforms, menstrual health products, books, and school fees. Girls who face intersecting forms of disadvantage, like disabilities, have faced additional challenges and most have left school since the pandemic.
YFCU will address these problems in a number of ways through this project. First, the organization aims to sponsor two years of school for 50 young girls and concurrently enroll their families in income-generating projects so they are able to support their girls’ education in the long-term. YFCU will also provide financial support to meet girls’ educational needs like uniforms, supplies, and stationary. Additionally, YFCU will expand and strengthen its Dare to Dream clubs in five schools, reaching approximately 500 girls. These efforts will encourage community dialogue on the importance of girls’ education, ending child marriage, and advancing gender inequality. Furthermore, by addressing the needs of both girls and their families, YFCU hopes to create a sustainable solution which will allow girls’ to stay in school beyond the two years of financial support provided.
This project will restore educational opportunities for girls in Uganda and encourage them to continue pursuing their passions through mentorship, community support, and life skills training. YFCU aims to create a transformative effect in the lives of girls and their families by supplementing financial resources with support to find self-sustaining economic opportunities. Through this approach, the project will show how girl’s education can help address poverty at the individual and familial level. In turn, families will come to see girls’ education as an asset to solving financial problems within the home, promoting long-term change in communities.