According to reports released by the World Bank, a global financial organization that provides loans for developing countries, youth employment remains a major struggle in Uganda. In an article published on August 4th, 2015, the World Bank listed several youth unemployment facts for the Sub-Saharan country:
- Although population of citizens between the ages of 15 and 24 continues to increase, the employment rate for this cross-section remains stagnant
- Uganda holds one of the youngest and fastest growing populations on earth
- 53% of the population is under the age of 15
- 64% of Uganda’s unemployed population are under the age of 24
As a result of the country’s long-standing patriarchal society, young men have traditionally sought careers as farmers and taxi drivers since both professions are looked up on as quintessentially masculine. Yet, due to Uganda’s expanding cosmetics industry, more men than ever are bucking tradition in favor of the financial stability that jobs in beauty salons are now offering.
A prime example of this nationwide trend is Donnah Masolo’s Sparkles salon, located in the capital city of Kampala. When Masolo first opened the doors to her salon fifteen years ago, it was a humble two-chair operation. Today, Sparkles is not only thriving but has also created a beauty school where students enroll in a nine to eighteen month training program designed to educate them using international cosmetology standard requirements.
Given her recent success, Masolo is beginning to feel a sense of social responsibility, so she’s starting a beauty school sponsorship fund. By doing so, she hopes to help students from disadvantaged households get an opportunity to pursue their dreams of escaping poverty and becoming cosmetologists. One Sparkles employee, Obed Akampulira, credits his ability to pay rent, finance his son’s education, and afford to buy property to his job in the beauty industry.