Ugandan teenager Hadija Nagawa puts the finishing touches on one of the decorated wine bottles at her home in Makindye, Kampala, Uganda, June 28, 2021 (Photo by Joseph Kiggundu / Xinhua)
KAMPALA, Aug.5 (Xinhua) – As the world prepares to commemorate International Youth Day on Aug.12, Ugandan youth are proposing innovative ways to improve their lives amid the COVID-19 pandemic that resulted in the closure of schools.
While some students take classes online, others like 16-year-old Hadija Nagawa are not so fortunate. They are left to do housework, do some reading and roam the villages.
During one of her evening jogs, Nagawa’s attention was diverted to a woman who turned used wine bottles into bottle vases.
“When I saw the lady making beautiful works of art from old bottles of wine, I immediately approached her. I greeted her and asked her to teach me how to make the same drawings,” Nagawa told Xinhua in a recent interview.
The lady, who also turned bottles into flowerpots, wall vases and garden decorations, refused to teach Nagawa saying she was busy.
This did not stop the determination of Nagawa who had always wanted to create his own creations. Back in school, she created her own traditional clothing designs.
“I used banana leaves, bags and grass to create my own dresses and blouses,” she said. She was responsible for decorating the school chapel before prayers.
Through self-study and using the internet, Nagawa was able to master the art of turning used wine bottles into anything she wanted to design. She said the school closures, while unfortunate, helped her hone her talent as a designer.
“Of course, it was not good news for the schools to close. At the same time, it was time for me to explore my talent more,” she said.
Nagawa has since expanded her business and even created a name for her: Lovigirl Fashion Bottles.
“My aunt helps me with some money to buy thread, glue and other inputs. My only market is around my house, tenants and friends,” she added.
Nagawa’s brother, who has a metalworking exhibition, also helps display his finished products. Each of the products costs around eight US dollars.
“I hope more marketing customers will come and buy my products. I also make wall rugs and table rugs,” she said.
Nagawa urged his peers locked in their homes by COVID-19 restrictions to think hard and find something practical to keep them occupied.
“Let them be patient too. Don’t let them rush for money. They can do something to supplement what their parents earn,” she said.
Nagawa has developed a rotation to enable him to achieve his academic and personal goals.
“In the morning, I focus on household chores. I do illustrations in the afternoon and review my books in the evening,” she said.
Nagawa shared his skills with some of his classmates.
Joan Nankinga, 16, also a student at Kennedy High School, raved about Nagawa.
“I find her job very enjoyable. She also taught me how to make decorative bottles. She is such a talented, smart and orderly girl,” Nankinga said. Final element