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.
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.
“When they are …
going to eat.”//
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
of other youths.”//
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.
“The major problem…
for us a rehabilitation.”//
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.
//Cue in: “Cukere
Cue out: …
kede cuk keken.”//
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.
LuoVox pop//Cue in; “Ka
Cue out…culi wa kwan.”//
Ghetto Youth has a record of 72 female members and 1,028 males living under 45 different
Ghetto units within Lira City.