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Charity | Toronto Based Solome Nanvule – Founder and CEO of the Pelletier Teenage Mothers Foundation (PTMOF)

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Posted April 3, 2018 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Charity ~ 1,326 views

     

By Ronnie Mayanja — Meet Solome Nanvule – Founder and CEO of the Pelletier Teenage Mothers Foundation (PTMOF), a charity founded in memory of her late benefactor, Fr Raynald Pelletier, a French-Canadian missionary who paid her school fees from primary school through  university. Solome first met Fr Pelletier in 1986 as a young teen at St Theresa Mitala Maria Primary School.  Fr Pelletier was the parish priest at Mitala Maria at the time, serving under the Missionaries of Africa, commonly known as the White Fathers.    

Fr Pelletier had helped the school parish become a part of the Xaverian Movement, and it was there that Solome’s leadership skills and qualities caught the attention of this missionary priest, prompting him to support her work.

A rough childhood

Solome and her three siblings were raised by a single mother, having been abandoned by their father. As a family they lacked a lot and  had to scavenge for food in dumpsters and markets. She remembers all the days they had to pick food and charcoal at Kasubi Market to survive at home. As a family unit they had to set goals of who would pick charcoal, matooke, cassava and sweet potatoes from the vendors’ big trucks as they off loaded between 5:00am and 6:00pm at Kasubi Market. As part of their daily routine this meant that they had to leave home in the early hours of the morning around 4am to catch up with the trucks or else they would sleep hungry.

Solome remembers starving on her breaks and lacked pocket money but she was determined to feed and school her younger siblings so instead she would use the money given to her by Fr Pelletier to pay for the house rent and used the remainder for her family’s needs.  On so many occasions her lunch break money paid her siblings’ school fees, Solome recalls.

Father Pelletier enrolled her in the boarding section of her school where she started getting food and some immediate support.  This allowed her to be able to send some of her pocket money to her mother to support her other siblings.

Fr Pelletier served in Uganda for 26 years before retiring and going back to Canada on account of failing health. He returned to Uganda in August 2001 to identify some girls he could sponsor to travel to Canada for the World Youth Day celebrations, and Solome was among the first on his shortlist. This was soon after Solome completed her degree in education in 2001 from Makerere University.

However as fate would have it, she got pregnant at a tender age of 19, the same year that she traveled to Canada. As a young mother and a new immigrant she was enrolled in a teen pregnancy program which helped her settle well in Canada and go back to school after giving birth to her child.

It was then that she lost contact with Fr.Pellettier who was disappointed in her conduct. As any parent, Fr Pelletier did not like some of the choices Solome had made, especially since her boyfriend at that time was still in Uganda.

Life was so complicated for Solome without a family and the father figure in her childhood. She lived a life of single parenting for 4 years before her boyfriend was finally able to join her in Canada.

Owing to some of the decisions she had made Solome was unable to solicit for support for her siblings who later dropped out of school as a result of Fr Pelletier’s inability to pay any more tuition for her.  It was then that she assumed full responsibility for her son’s upkeep, siblings and her mother. At the age of 21 years as a single mother Solome worked day and night covering different shifts to support her family.

She finally reconciled with Fr Pelletier after returning home as a prodigal daughter. In memory of the priest who help support her formative years Solome felt a strong conviction to carry on Fr Pelletier’s legacy of taking care of the vulnerable teens exposed to a life of poverty.

Solome remembers the day she told Fr Pelletier that she was going back home to Uganda for a visit and the missionary requested her to visit some of the girls he had helped while in Uganda. When she got back to Uganda, she also found out that many of the girls Father Pelletier had supported over the years had since dropped out of school, becoming teenage mothers and living in abject poverty. Equally disturbing was the fact that the so-called caretakers of the girls were withholding the money for their upkeep in school, leaving the girls to suffer and some to drop out of school.

After living through the experience and witnessing first hand the suffering and challenges many of the teen mothers were experiencing, Solome went back to Canada and shared what she had seen with Fr Pelletier. Together they decided to start a non- profit organisation to empower teenage mothers in Uganda. Solome choose to name it after Fr Pelletier as a way to keep his legacy in Uganda alive where he served for over 26 years before returning to Canada.

Starting the project — According to the baseline study conducted by the Wakiso District Community-Based Services Department in partnership with the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (2002-2011) Wakiso ranks among the highest number in teen pregnancies in Uganda, with 8 out of 10 mothers in Wakiso being teenagers. 

PTMOF got its start in a friend’s garage in Nansana, Wakiso District. Nanvule picked five teenage mothers in Nansana and the organisation started teaching them how to make beads. From the garage, Solome moved the project to a home in Nansana West Zone II, which she had built for her late mother. The girls continued with their business of making beads, and soon they diversified into baking and tailoring. With the money she earns from kyeeyo, Solome has bought sewing machines and salon equipment such as hair dryers, for the girls at the project site.

Today PTMOF as an organization has reached out to over 300 mothers in the past 6 years who have now benefited from the projects. Most of these, she says, are today doing private business as salon owners or operators of small bakeries. To date Solome’s goal is to acquire a 5-acre piece of land  to build an emergency shelter for sexually abused children, a maternity clinic, vocational classrooms, a babies home and daycare facility. This will be the first emergency shelter for teen mothers in Uganda.   visit her website and support her cause :www.ptmof.com  

Last year during the Ugandan Diaspora Social Networking Gala held at Kampala Serena Hotel, Solome and her foundation were recognized for the work difference continue to make in society.  

Please donate to this noble cause and the PTMOF Foundation via Mobile Money to Tel. +256759996184 (Nagawa Mariam) or +256 785-435-407 (Achilee Lukonge) the PTMOF treasurers or channel your support via email to Solome at snanvule@gmail.com.

 CANADA OFFICE

Miss Solome Nanvule, Director

245 Dunn Ave. Suite 407
Toronto, ON M6K 1S6
Tel: +647-713-1441

Email: snanvule@ptmof.com

Email: snanvule@gmail.com 

Website: www.ptmof.com

UGANDA OFFICE

Miss Alice Namuwulya 
Community Worker 
Tel: 0705853169

GET INVOLVED

  • Donate at www.ptmof.com
  • Sponsor a child/mother
  • Give a monthly donation of just $20 
 


About the Author

Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.

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