SHE FOUNDED PRINCESS DIANA TEENAGE CENTRE
NAKAJJIGO 18, A SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR
With lots of smiles, Esther Nakajjigo opens up to fortune Magazine after several hours of active interaction with her clients at Princess Diana Teenage Centre, a facility she founded with the help of funding from Child Care International.
Located along Salama Road in Makindye, a Kampala suburb, the centre offers free medical and health services to women and girls but most especially teens and teenage mothers. The centre also conducts research in health related matters.
Born and raised in Nsambya, Makindye Division in Kampala, the 18year old S.6. A vacist is already a celebrated social entrepreneur with greater ambitions. Born in a family of 4, Nakajjigo wasn’t born with a silver spoon in her mouth, but growing up watching the struggles and awful pain women and girls in the country go through shaped her entrepreneurship career. In Kabalagala, she says, it’s ‘Red Light district’ where women and girls as young as 12 years old trade their bodies for a living in what is commonly referred to as transactional sex. “I always felt pain seeing the pain of commercially sexually exploited children and how they were being exposed unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs),” she said in an exclusive interview with Fortune Magazine.
Nakajjigo’s dream is to be one of the leading female stars in the world and she draws her inspiration from the works of late Diana, Princess of Wales, who is remembered by millions of people for championing the most challenging health and humanitarian causes. It is against the background that Nakajjigo named her venture, Princes Dianah Teenage Centre. Nakajjigo’s journey to continue the works of the fallen princess of Wales started two years ago when she had just joined Princess Dianah High School in Munyonyo. While at this school, she got exposed to lots of literature about Diana and ended up falling in love with her works. At this point, she joined Kirunddu Teenage Centre run by a health and humanitarian organization called Child Care and Rescue Programme (CC&RP).
In the course of her search for knowledge, she discovered that it was time for women and girls to stop looking for minor ventures that she says “block the big bright future.” Today, Prince Dianah Teenage Centre has groomed her into a fortunate lady who has a dream of uplifting the social status of women in Uganda.
Nakajjigo may not have any accolade or award to her name but at just 18, the future is certainly bright. She has been nominated for the 2014 Women Achievers’ Award in Uganda for establishing health centre providing free adolescent friendly services to young people. She was also nominated for her initiative of establishing the first Research Hospital for women and girls in East Africa. She employs 7 professionals at her facility and has taken an extra mile of helping close to 80 teenagers with different complications. Although she is not comfortable revealing the worth of the facility, the services offered and facilities at the centre is enough to tell that it is a heavy investment. To emphasize her social cause, Nakajjigo says, “At times it’s not about how much you invest in an initiative, but the impact it creates to the people. If it’s a business, its relevance must always be highly appreciated than the cost involved in achieving its core values.”
With funding solely coming from Child Care International yet with increasing number of clients, Nakajjigo says she needs more funds to enable her offer extensive services to the suffering women and teenagers in Uganda. Being a teen, Nakajjigo says some people underrate her that she can’t own such a facility yet she searched for the opportunity using her knowledge. “A few people believe I own this facility. I have involved myself into several activities to prove to the world that I am here to strengthen women in Uganda,” she said.
Nakajjigo dreams of being the first women in Eats Africa to establish the first all women and girls hospital worth Shs2.7bn. through this facility she says, she wants teenage pregnancies reduced from 26% to 10% in Uganda.