One of the biggest challenges facing families today is child care for the working parents. As more mothers enter the work force and seek to develop their careers, the demand for childcare continues to grow. According to Manuela Mulondo, CEO and founder Cradle Childcare, her company’s vision is to work towards, “A Uganda where women are free to maximize their full potential and still be able to enjoy motherhood,” because she believes, no mother should ever have to choose between her children and career.
“When I gave birth to my first born, as a working mother it was so hard for me to part with my precious little bundle without constantly worrying about his safety – going by different stories of care takers mistreating babies. 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,” remarks Manuela.
Mulondo recently participated in dfcu bank’s Women in Business initiative dubbed ‘Rising Woman’ and emerged second in the proposal writing competition. Hers is 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 15years, 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.
Commenting about the inspiration that led to the birth of Cradle Childcare, Manuela says she wanted to replicate the family setting at the centre. So they came 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 Rising Woman proposal writing 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 developmentwhile at work and schedule the activities they would want their children to be involved in while at the center.
“Being part of the Rising Woman initiative gave me the opportunity to meet women with brilliant ideas. For some women, it was the first time they wrote business proposals and defended them. It’s one thing to have a business idea and totally different experience to see your idea come to life. For me winning the competition, wasn’t just about the money, it was more about someone believing in me and my dream. The money was just a bonus,”she says.
“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.
Rising woman is aims to recognize, celebrate and promote a culture of mentorship among women in business in partnership with Daily Monitor and Uganda Investment Authority (UIA).