Before her involvement with Premier Skills, Ritah was lonely, shy and lacked self-confidence. Like many girls in Uganda, Ritah became a single mother at an early age and missed out on a full education.
Improving pathways for girls
As well as providing for her daughter, she was living with her HIV positive grandparents and taking care of her mother, who had also contracted HIV, a condition affecting around 1.4 million people in Uganda*, particularly young women, who are disproportionately affected.
Ritah’s daughter was born with a condition known as hydrocephalus, which can affect speech, learning and coordination. Ritah and her daughter experienced prejudice within the community due to this disability.
Left to bring up her three-year old daughter alone, combined with the challenge of her family suffering ill health and being only 18 years old, Ritah found herself with little opportunity for development or even the chance to make friends.
This changed when she joined Community Coach Anne Naiga’s Premier Skills project.
Ritah started playing football four times every week with other young women in her community, increasing her confidence and making new friends. For the first time, she felt empowered and a sense of belonging to her new Premier Skills community in Kivvulu.
With Anne’s help and experience as a social worker, Ritah was not only able to access help and support for her daughter, but also enrol in a life-changing tailoring course at the Uganda Home Economics institute.
I am no longer stigmatised because of the disability of my daughter. I now share life’s challenges with others and as a result I’ve been able to get support from a disability organisation to improve my daughter’s speech. She can now smile and sing me songs!
Ritah has now qualified as a Premier Skills Community Coach, achieving more than she ever thought possible. Acting as a role model, she inspires other young women to play football and continues to contribute to the legacy of Premier Skills in Uganda.
* Source: UNAIDS Data 2018