When Manuela Mulondo gave birth to her firstborn, it was daunting to part with her precious little bundle without constantly worrying about his safety.
“I tried to look for someone to take care of my son but couldn’t find the right fit. I came to the realization that it wasn’t going to be a maid because I didn’t know what her value and belief system was, I didn’t want to put myself in a position where I would conflict with someone because of who essentially they are,” she relates.
Mulondo’s story is shared by many Ugandan working mothers whose dream of maximizing full career potential while priding in the joy of motherhood has been a balance so delicate to walk. Most opt out!
Most mother who have given up on their careers according to Mulondo have kept inaudible and audible silence, fearful to admit the horror of shuddered hopes. However, she believes that a “Uganda where women are free to maximize their full potential and still be able to enjoy motherhood” is very possible.
She pitched this idea in DFCU Bank’s Women in Business initiative dubbed ‘Rising Woman’ and emerged second in the proposal writing competition. Hers was a story of developing a solution out of failure to find a satisfying daycare centre that would take care of her child.
“Having worked with children for the last 15 years, I know the importance of the first 1,000 days of a child’s life. What someone does with that child in the first 1,000 days is more important than anything else that comes after because it’s the foundation of the person they eventually become in future. With this in mind, I didn’t want my child’s first 1,000 days to be treated as a by-the-way,” she says.
With this, she conceived an idea of a child care initiative which is an exact replica of a family setting. Cradle Childcare Uganda, a center whose management she sits at the help as the Chief Executive officer has come up with the first play based infant curriculum in Uganda that included all the things parents would love for their children to be taught.
According to Manuela, child care providers can be first teachers and therefore play an integral role of early child education. Quality care from a young age can have a substantial impact on the future success of the children.
Manuela’s aim is to revolutionize child care systems in Uganda and her submission in the DFCU competition was focused on building an App that would make it easy for parents to request and be provided with short term trained child minders to enable them work while having their children taken care of.
It will also enable parents monitor their children development while at work and schedule the activities they would want their children to be involved in while at the center.
“The Rising Woman initiative is an opportunity for women to explore their full potential. As a woman you need to challenge yourself. Nothing is too small or too big,” she hastens to add.
Manuela is among the women entrepreneurs who traveled to Nairobi on an all-expense paid study trip that is expected to expose women entrepreneurs to different ways of doing business and also learn from their Kenyan counterparts.