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Lira Ghetto Youths Find Hope in Selling Tree Seedlings

The group which comprise mostly of street children aged between 4 and 13 ventured into the business in 2020 when the government placed a total lockdown which made the streets unbearable for them. Amidst the struggle to survive on donations from well-wishers, the youngsters secured 10 kilograms of seedlings to start a new life journey.
The ghetto youths working on their nursery

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A group of youths in Lira city is telling a success story of abandoning the streets to earn from a newfound passion for growing and selling tree seedlings.

The group which comprise mostly of street children aged between 4 and 13 ventured into the business in 2020 when the government placed a total lockdown which made the streets unbearable for them. Amidst the struggle to survive on donations from well-wishers, the youngsters secured 10 kilograms of seedlings to start a new life journey.

Some of the seedlings were bought with money collected from begging on the streets, the sale of metallic scrap and donations from an anonymous person. At the moment, the teens have over 70,000 seedlings of fruit trees like mangoes, guava, avocado, and the indigenous Musizi, stored in four nurseries established along the railway line.

The group raised 1.5million Shillings from their initial sales, last year and have also supplied seedlings worth 900,000 Shillings to a businessman based in Kitgum District. They say that 50 per cent of the proceeds from their sales, is shared in form of capital for different small scale businesses started by those who participated in starting the business, while the remaining 50 per cent is reinvested.

Most of the beneficiaries are now running businesses like selling foodstuffs and vegetables like carrots, green pepper and tomatoes while others used the money for renting accommodation, as they start a new life off the streets. Martin Odur, the chairperson of Lira Ghetto Youths explained that the need to be independent and self-reliant motivated them to start up the small business.

//Cue in; “When they are …

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Odur who said a team from Operation Wealth Creation at Lira District had promised to purchase their seedlings for distribution is, however, worried that they may not get the much anticipated market for their products.

//Cue in; “Up to now…

Cue out… of other youths.”//

According to Odur, there is a need for well-wishers and other stakeholders to ensure that the children even those living on the streets grow up to become responsible citizens. He cited accommodation as the major challenge the Ghetto youths are facing at the moment.

//Cue in; “The major problem…

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Fred Engola, a member of the Ghetto Youths wants the government to create a market for their products saying the good market is a challenge because some middlemen take the seedlings on credit and later refuse to pay.

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However, the members of the Ghetto youth are excited about the project saying at last they can be independent and hopefully be able to go back to school.

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Cue out…culi wa kwan.”//

Lira Ghetto Youth has a record of 72 female members and 1,028 males living under 45 different Ghetto units within Lira City. 

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