Stella is a recent graduate of Flaminio Vocational Training Institute in Arua, Uganda where she has been awarded “Best Student of the Year.”
Stella started at our Pukuka school, but when war broke out in Yei, Stella, along with her two children, was forced to flee to refuge in Uganda. Their family walked for three days before reaching the Ugandan border, and Stella collapsed twice on the way due to exhaustion and hunger. She was settled in the Bidibidi Camp.
Stella is now 23 years old. She was married when she was only 15. Her parents asked her to marry at such a young age so she would not be dependent on them; this is a common custom.
When SOW started a tutoring program in the camps to help Pukuka students learn, the program was opened to any willing parent who wished to learn how to read and write. Right away, 34 children and 5 mothers joined the program. One of those mothers was Stella. She was 17 at the time, and she started at that point in Grade 3.
Stella would consistently perform well in all subjects because of her hard work. She was promoted through Grade 5, when she felt her responsibilities as a mother in the camps demanded more from her, and so she requested to be supported in skills training rather than classroom education. In 2022, SOW supported her in vocational training to become a tailor.
While in vocational training, Stella showed outstanding work ethic, proving her talent in tailoring. She soon became the best student in the class. She graduated in December and was awarded her tailoring certificate. Stella currently borrows a sewing machine and is a wonderful seamstress for people who bring her clothes. She hopes someday to teach others how to sew. Her future is bright and so is the future of her children!