Both of the JENGA programmes directly impacting young mums offer vocational training and support to vulnerable single mothers in the community. Many of the women enrolled have had children prior to completing school or obtaining consistent work. Most come from dysfunctional relationships and families with a serious need for practical support. JENGA’s vocational programme is designed to offer certified training in cooking, housekeeping, nutrition, hair-dressing and tailoring. Each member also receives guidance on how to establish and maintain an income generating small business.
The skills learned are transformative, and the opportunity to build a supportive community of peers alongside the local church, empowers the young mums to eliminate their future reliance on outside support.
The Daughters of Naomi programme is a series of support groups made up of local, HIV-positive women coming together in community. JENGA provides counselling, medical treatment, health education, food, and in-home support. This practical assistance, alongside the deep relationships formed through the group, enables the participants to live full lives despite their illness.
The programme also reaches the local community through regular large group training, one-on-one household follow-ups, health education and HIV testing along with pre and post-test counselling. These initiatives are designed to target the deeply engrained stigmas associated with HIV/AIDS – judgments that keep people from being tested and treated in the first place.
Women's Prayer Group
In 2015, JENGA initiated a weekly women’s prayer group for ladies struggling with alcohol addiction in Namatala. Its impact has been vast.
At the centre of a slum largely divided by tribe, language, and religion, JENGA’s Thursday morning prayer breakfast is a unique gathering that erases boundaries and cultivates unity. This programme has created a space where women usually separated by cultural circumstance come together over tea and chapatti to connect and support each other in their shared struggles.
Not feeling comfortable to attend formal church, many of these women still desire and value the importance of having a safe place to offer and receive prayer. The depth of relationships formed have spoken volumes to other locals, and increasingly men and children join the women in an ever growing example of unlikely, yet transformative, community.
As JENGA has expanded into a wide range of local communities, it has become apparent that mindsets are changing and a shift in culture is taking place. In some cases, this is a positive thing, but a more ‘Western’ attitude towards relationships and marriage has resulted in an increased rate of separations and fractured relationships.
Maiden Ministries, designed to combat these negative trends, is connecting young married couples with older, more established members of the community. They are provided with encouragement and tools to help build healthy relationships with their spouses. Young women come together to discuss their struggles over common issues such as money, sex, or parenting. Through training and individual (or couples) counselling, JENGA is empowering these women to also find their own solutions.