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Under her guidance, the girls learn hairdressing, pre-Kindergarten teaching and how to make jewelry from old paper and beans.
Eunice Kamya (second from right) teaching girls jewelry-making skills. Photo Credit: WaterAid/Lynn Johnson
A true matriach, it's clear Eunice cares deeply about bringing out the best in each of her students. With a wide smile that could light up any room and an infectious laugh, she emanates warmth. But make no mistake, Eunice is also a formidable tower of strength.
“ These girls are like my daughters. I have helped many girls, over 300 I think.”
After losing her husband to sudden illness when her children were young, Eunice had to fight to support her family single-handedly with few skills to her name. She's passionate about making sure girls are equipped with the skills they need to build their own businesses.
But Eunice knows business skills aren't enough to build healthy futures for the girls. They also need safe drinking water, toilets and knowledge of good hygiene. Most people in Eunice's community visit a spring to collect water, even though it sometimes runs dry and sometimes makes them sick. The water may look clean, but in a crowded, urban environment it’s easy for spring water to get contaminated with deadly water-related diseases.
In the slums of Kampala, spring water may look clean, but can harbor deadly diseases. Photo: Lynn Johnson / Ripple Effect Images.
As well as posing risks to health, collecting water from sources like these takes up time that could otherwise be devoted to studies or business. One of Eunice's students, Birungi Fatumah, 18, (pictured on the right of the picture at the top of this page), told us: "I want to start my own hairdressing salon. The problem here is water. At times I find it very hard to get water, particularly when it is very hot. I feel it is a burden to have to collect water."
Not content to do nothing when her girls' futures are at stake, Eunice volunteers with WaterAid several times a week. She changes out of the chic leopard-print outfit she wears at school, dons a WaterAid t-shirt and spends time meeting with the city water authority to petition them to install water points in her area. She also teaches her students about safe hygiene practices, from handwashing to menstrual hygiene, and visits families to make sure they know what they can do, even in the slum, to keep healthy.
Eunice visiting a family to promote good hygiene practices. Photo: WaterAid / Libby Plumb
Taps, toilets and good hygiene are critical in helping the next generation achieve their full potential. Eunice is an inspirational change-maker making a difference to girls and their families in Kampala.