Interview with Uncle Sam Onyait – Principal of New Hope Vocational Institute
Can you please describe the New Hope Vocational Institute?
New Hope Vocational Institute is part of New Hope Uganda; it serves many from the community. Our vision is to train and disciple the young abled men and women in vocational skills and enterpriual skills that will transform them into God fearing and self-sufficient citizens. We offer Building and Concreting practice, carpentry and joinery, motor vehicle technicians/welding and fabrication, tailoring and textile arts, and a catering program.
What are the goals of NHVI this year?
One of them is to reach out to the community by serving them, even through ministering the word of God to the surrounding communities. We have gone to different places, helping the elderly. Our boys dug pit latrines for several of them. Another goal is reaching out to our students, and try to get to know them through morning devotions shared by the staffs, gardening, games and sports. We also want to have our students do a National exam conducted by the Directorate of Industrial Training. Our final goal is that every staff we have to be well trained and equipped to serve the children God has brought to us.
What are some specific jobs that the vocational students have been hired to do as part of their training?
This year, we built a store on the Primary side where the Church is keeping musical equipment… and we are also currently working on a staffhouse room addition. The carpentry class built benches for the Sunday School Church. The mechanic’s class is also doing some work repairing broken vehicles. And the tailoring class made uniforms for our students. There have been quite a few activities!
What are some ways you’ve seen God working in the lives of our Vocational Institute students?
I’ve seen God do a number of things, especially in the devotion area. Every morning before we start work we read scripture and have a devotion. There are some that came and could not even read, and one hardly knew English… but all of them have improved. We have also seen those able to communicate better with their friends. And we have the students have a heart to work. God has worked in the lives of these young students.
What challenges has NHVI program faced this year?
Some of the students decided to move onto Secondary School. One thing that is common in Uganda in general is that people undermine vocational training, because it’s generally considered to be for those who are bad at school and yet we have seen God do great things in the lives of those who have gone through our Vocational school. Due to peer pressure, several of our students have left. Also, our students pay their own tuition, and it’s hard for many of them to pay the money. And in addition, we have people expressing interest in sending their children, but we don’t have a hostel for them to stay… so if we had a hostel that would help. Also, our school is not fully fenced. Because we have people bringing in their timbers from the outside, it is not completely safe [especially materials], even though we have security guards. We have quite a few trespassers.
What are some ways people can pray for the Vocational Institute students and staff?
One of the things we would really appreciate is that people would pray for us to be able to stand [strong in the Lord]… to have a hostel for the students, and also to pray that God open the door for us to have more staff houses, because some of us are living off-sight and renting. And you also have many who are coming from very far, and they need better transportation to come to school.
Interview by Harrison Scott