To Hold a Diploma in Your Hands

November 4, 2019  

When the graduates of the Paper Fig Foundation Skills Training Institute walk down the aisle to receive their diplomas, they are beaming. Graduation day is a proud day, no matter where you're from and what you've overcome to arrive. But in Kasese, where the majority of people are living on less than a dollar a day and traditional schooling is out of reach because of financial limitations, receiving a diploma is monunmental. The mission of the Paper Fig Foundation is empowerment through fashion and fine arts, and this can be interpreted in many ways. But on graduation day, the mission is perfectly demonstrated. 

Paper Fig graduates have completed a six-month training course, for free, that has equipped them with sewing and tailoring skills so they can seek gainful employment and can provide for their families. In a place where teen pregnancy and child marriage are commonplace, the ability for mothers to support their children is all the more important. 

The diploma itself is significant in terms of empowerment. It costs money to print diplomas - it's not a basic need. But to have a symbol of their own worth, to know that there's an organization willing to invest in their future - this gives our graduates confidence. It's empowering. 

Now we get to watch what they do with their newfound skills. Many of them will join the Alumni Association to continue working out of the Paper Fig Foundation center in Kasese. They can access sewing machines and Master Classes through the Alumni Association. And, they can apply for loans so they embark on their own projects. 

Where they take their skills is up to them, but the purpose of the Paper Fig Foundation is to give them that first shot - the skills they need and the confidence to use them. This is how we rise.