Parent Empowerment

Family First serves vulnerable families in Uganda who lack the support and resources to overcome the obstacles erected by generational poverty and displacement or refugee status. Because of these barriers, many in our community face unimaginable challenges just to survive. Through faith-based principles, the Family First Parent Empowerment Program provides the support and resources parents need to find hope, grow a business, and provide a stable life for their children. 

The Parent Empowerment Program aims to give parents hope for their future and break the cycle of poverty and dependency. To do this, Family First has created an intensive, year-long program focusing on helping parents in three core areas: 

  1. Developing a growth mindset
  2. Overcoming learned helplessness
  3. Creating a successful business plan

These areas are interdependent, and addressing them is a fluid process of growth and healing. However, the foundation of this program is our core belief in the power of the gospel to heal and transform lives. 

Developing a Growth Mindset

The Family First Center is situated inside a densely populated slum area in Kampala, Uganda. This area is a volatile mix of long-term refugees from war-torn countries surrounding Uganda and desperate Ugandan nationals seeking to build a better life in the capital city. People seek help from our office daily, telling horrific stories of surviving unimaginable traumas, including rape, violent attacks, death of loved ones, abandonment, or debilitating injury. Past trauma keeps its victims in a cycle of hopelessness, fearing future danger and believing they will never access education or have good opportunities for work or relationships. 

The first step in the Parent Empowerment Program is to develop a growth mindset. We do this through Biblical discipleship and group counseling. Parents learn to release past hurts and have hope for a brighter future. They learn how to support each other and heal the wounds that the world has inflicted. Through the guidance of our incredible staff, parents start to believe that God has a purpose for their lives and a plan for their families.

Overcoming Learned Helplessness


Learned helplessness is a significant barrier that our participants experience when trying to break free from the cycle of poverty and dependency. Learned helplessness creates an overwhelming sense of powerlessness, causing people to believe they cannot transform their situation. This feeling of helplessness and lack of agency creates overreliance on the assistance of aid organizations to provide for their basic needs. 

Each person works through a personal empowerment program designed to foster independence and allow participants to see a future where they can provide for their families without relying on inconsistent support from aid organizations. Combined with developing a growth mindset, business education, and microloan program, participants learn strategies for self-sufficiency and personal responsibility, having faith in God’s provision, and finding supportive communities.

Building a Successful Business

From building a growth mindset and eliminating learned helplessness, the Parent Empowerment Program progresses to developing, initiating, and growing a successful personal business. Our team works with each parent to create a business plan based on their unique talents, family needs, and environment. Each participant attends classes on marketing, business management, bookkeeping, English, and many other skills to help their business thrive. 

Upon completing the classroom portion of the program, each parent receives a startup loan and opens their business. Through frequent visits, our team provides on-site support with accounting, marketing, inventory, and growth. Once a parent’s business is thriving, they enter into the repayment and savings portion of the program. Each parent makes small scheduled payments to repay their loan. Loan repayment is crucial to the success of the Parent Empowerment Program because it allows the parents to feel pride and ownership in their successful business and have tangible evidence of their internal transformation. 

The final step of the program is growing personal savings for the future. A requirement includes saving to pay for next year's school fees for their children enrolled in our preschool or daycare. Our goal is that by the end of one year, they will graduate from the program as a successful business owner, independent and thriving, able to support their family and contribute to their community.

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