Emily Ndooli was a lucky girl. She was raised in a home of cultured relatives that instilled in her the best virtues expected of an African woman; a respectful, patient and God fearing person.
But thirty years ago seems a century indeed when she looks at the transformation that has taken place in the way teenagers dress, speak, interact with elders and generally conduct themselves.
Today’s young people, according to Emily have lost moral campus. They do not know how to greet, they don’t know how to speak to elders let alone other people in society and dress in a way that not only demeans them but also attracts evils such as sexual harassment and rape to them.
Matters have been made worse by the fact that most children these days spend more time away from their parents in boarding schools where manners and norms are less emphasized. But even where parents stay with their children, the hectic schedules of today’s working parents mean that they leave children in the care of maids who may themselves not be tooled to raise the kids well.
Inspired by the need to change the state of affairs especially of Ugandan girls, as well as her initial job working with the children organisation Compassion international, Emily started a programme to instill good habits in children targeting busy parents a few years ago.
Working through her organisation – Trust global reach divine ministries, Emily is determined to build a formidable network of parents, schools and youngsters that want to have successful families, similar to what she experienced during her upbringing.
Emily organises parenting sessions in which she brings experts from different fields such as doctors, counselors, teachers to speak to groups of teenagers and pre-teens on touchy subjects such as sex, diseases and consequences of early marriages.
In one of her modules called Girls Communication, Emily smartly works with the youngsters to open up their hearts particularly on the secrets they would not share with their parents or teachers.
Armed with an infectious smile and soft-spoken tone, Emily easily wins the confidence of the youngsters.
“It’s interesting to know that children tend to open up to strangers more easily than to people they live with. When I meet them, I usually tell them to write down the best kept secrets. Most times, these secrets reveal communication gaps between children and their parents but also a number of abuses suffered by the children,” says Emily.
Emily believes in family as the basis of happiness in one’s life. So ensuring that couples last and groom their children with good manners is a definition of success for Emily.
“I always tell girls that however high they rise in academics or work, the epitome of happiness is always in a successful family,” adds Ndooli now aged only 35 years old.
And as she teaches the youngsters how to appreciate elders, and not to use abusive words, Emily engages kids in a wide range of games that instil virtues of patience, listening skills, fast thinking.
Out of the desire to build her knowledge base, Emily has acquired a number of hands-on skills including making confectioneries, hand crafts, soap making, yoghurt-making and raring of fish in plastic containers – or aquaponics.
Emily is trying to spread her love and skills to grown up women such as mothers, single mothers, widows so that they use their skills to rise from poverty.