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U.S Ambassador to South Sudan (Center) in a group photo with some of the eight graduates.

U.S funded HIV epidemic control project opens new horizons for young mothers

Having dropped out of secondary school in 2018 due to lack of tuition, Johan Mami Jambo a 27- year-old mother of three felt dejected and lost.

Jambo found life difficult as she was the sole bread winner for her family. She tried her luck on charcoal selling business but she later on quit the business as it was unprofitable.

She found redemption in 2020 after enrolling for training under the Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) project.

Jambo was among the eight graduates who underwent three-month internship training in front desk management, food catering, housekeeping and hotel engineering at the Raddisson Blu hotel in Juba.

“I have been in training for three years and lastly we have been trained at Radisson Blu hotel on butchery, hot kitchen, cold kitchen and pastries, right now I am able to apply the skills and it will help me improve my economic status,” Jambo told The Juba Echo during graduation ceremony held at Nakasongola Christ Church in Juba on Wednesday.

The OVC project implemented by Jhpiego, a Johns Hopkins University affiliate is part of the Adolescents and Children HIV Incidence Reduction, Empowerment and Virus Elimination project (ACHIEVE) funded by USAID.

Jhpiego is an international, non-profit health organization is dedicated to improving the health of women and families.

Lilian Konga Oliver, 23 who acquired skills in making liquid soap and hair dressing hailed Jhpiego for transforming her life.

“I got training in making liquid soap and hairdressing, and I am now working in a salon,” said Oliver.

 Oliver who prior to the training had no job, said she was tipped by a friend to enroll for the training

She is currently part of a group of young women attending ongoing training in catering at Radisson Blu Hotel.

“I have already completed my secondary school studies, and I am currently saving money to pursue my studies at the university,” said Oliver.

Soda Nadia, a 19-year-old mother of one who acquired training in catering, liquid soap making and hair dressing, said she is already employed at a salon where she earns money to take care of her child.

“I am working in a salon and earning money which helps me buy food, clothing and pay rent,” said Nadia.

Peter Mawora, the Country Program Manager of Jhpiego said that they started with few beneficiaries in April 2020 when implementing the Orphans and Vulnerable Children project.

“We started with few beneficiaries and of those beneficiaries 90 were children and adults living with HIV/AIDS,” said Mawora.

He added that afterwards they enrolled more beneficiaries.

“We provide services to the beneficiaries, we make sure that they go to school making sure their economic wellbeing is stable, and also making sure that they serve within their communities and within their households, today we have served more than 4,000 orphans and vulnerable children and their care givers,” said Mawora.

Women are seen plaiting hair at Nakasongola Christ Church.

Mawora said the ACHIEVE project has supported a total of 947 adolescent girls and young women with economic strengthening assets in order to expose them to various pathways of entrepreneurship, apprenticeship, income generation and wage employment to enable them to be self-sufficient and therefore reduce their vulnerability.

His Excellency Michael Adler, U.S Ambassador to South Sudan, Kate Crawford, USAID Mission Director, and Dr. Marial Cuir, South Sudan AIDS Commission Director General for Program Coordination, and Dino Urbani, Radisson Blu General Manager presented certificates of completion to the graduates.

Dino Urbani, General Manager for Radisson Blu Hotel said that their collaboration with Jhpiego and USAID is aimed at supporting skill development for youth in the hotel and hospitality sector.

“One of the values of Radisson Hotel group is to reverse challenges, putting values into practice, empower the community and growing talent to serve the community, and we also hope we will be extending some employment opportunities to some of the interns in the coming days,” said Urbani.

Michael Adler, U.S Ambassador to South Sudan hailed the project as one of the many successful projects supported by the U.S government in South Sudan.

“This is just one thing of the enduring support to South Sudanese people of which we are proud, we are proud to work with South Sudanese people who are committed to stability and better future for their country. Just as I congratulate the graduates today, I wish all South Sudanese people a future of peace, stability and success,” said Adler.

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