My name is Kevin. I was, born on 11th September 1997. When I reached seven years, my father and mother died and I became an orphan. Then I started schooling when I was eight years in primary one. This was during the time when the insurgency in Northern Uganda was at its peak and I had no one to stay with and to take proper care of me. Fortunately, my aunt came to the village and took my brother and me to her home in town. My aunt would give us guidance and show us love and care. She taught us how to work in the house, washing clothes, cooking, sweeping the compound, gardening, and how to relate with our friends, relatives and neighbors. It was hard for me, going through tough times until U-TOUCH came to support me in school. I was in Primary four and with U-TOUCH support I reached Primary seven in 2012. I sat for my Primary exit exams and passed very well. I was then admitted to St Mary’s secondary school, in Gulu town. I have studied there for the past three years and now I’m in senior four. I will sit for a national exam at the end of this year. U-TOUCH has been so helpful and supportive of my life and education in particular. My school fees and scholastic materials have all been taken care of and that has made me to concentrate in school and do well. In the future, after my studies, I would like to become a teacher or businesswoman. From my business I would like to be able to support my family with their needs and pay school fees for other needy children, just like U-TOUCH is doing for me. I thank U-TOUCH so much for its continued support towards my education
“I had lost all the hope in life, having droped out of school in S.5 (A-level). However, I got my hope rejuvenated in December 2015, having undergone a both ICT and WEP training at U-TOUCH Gulu Center. I found the Entrepreneurship lesson quite adoring, and I wonderful started a mobile saloon venture. I could I initiate calls, by calling friends about my mobile services, as they needed not to get out of their homes in quest for saloon service. In a day I could at least get a client. I started the venture with only Ugx 15,000 because I had even missed out, on the small grant U-TOUCH awarded select WEP trainees. After 3 months, in March I had caught some market shares of clients in Gulu town; and to some extend it became overwhelming in that, the customer calls per day grew up and I could not now manage all calls in a day. I had to venture more into, a beauty shop for servicing my customers; I opened up a static service point, the saloon shop. I placed my shop amidst competitors, but to win the race, I had one unique offer, and that is to refund transport/boda boda cost incurred by clients that call me to go to their places.
Now I own a fully stocked beauty saloon for which I daily work on 5-10 women customers, each paying an average of UGX 10,000. I have employed an Assistant, a trainee, who helps me achieve a daily target of 10 customers in a day.
The power for success really belongs to your hands, but only if you are informed and guided with basic skills; which I gained at U-TOUCH.”
Aneno was working as a facilitator at an NGO called the Foundation for Women Affected by Conflict . After attending U-TOUCH training, she became much more effective in her work and got a promotion.
“In our community, a girl’s education has not been considered important… my prayer is that U-TOUCH has a long life, so that many women can benefit from it and their lives can be changed like mine.”
Okello was a records clerk in the Ugandan army and produced reports using a typewriter. After receiving U-TOUCH training in Pader, he became the Chief Data Clerk at a military hospital. Now, Okello uses all the computer office and productivity tools he learned at U-TOUCH on a daily basis. He has big plans for his future.
“I intend to enroll for a diploma in computer maintenance and networking so that I can provide IT support. Someday, I plan to operate a computer center of my own.”
Although Irene was a skilled nurse in a Kitgum hospital, without the necessary income to live independently she and her two children lived with her mother. Without the funds for Irene’s children to attend school or money for food, the family lived on an austere budget until Irene began studying at the Kitgum U-TOUCH Digital Center. After her training life changed dramatically for Irene and her family. With her new ICT and life skills in addition to entrepreneurship skills, and support from the U-TOUCH staff, Irene gave up her employment at the hospital to open her own business. By using her knowledge as a nurse and new skills Irene opened her own drug store in Kitgum. Irene now educates the community about health and medications and glows with pride.
“ I benefited from U-TOUCH in how to open my own business. I learned how to connect using the Internet gained entrepreneurship skills and even learned about drugs online. It is because of U-TOUCH that I now have a successful and growing business. My children and I live independently and I feed them very well. I can pay for them to even attend a quality private school and I now teach my children how to use computers. I owe it all to U-TOUCH.“
Akanyo was unemployed and dreamed of a better life as a secretary. After completing her training at the Pader U-TOUCH Digital Center, she became a secretary working with the Education Department of the district government. Her responsibilities include managing data for the district and preparing monthly reports.
“I encourage everybody, especially the girls, to take this opportunity and learn how to use computers. I was able to get this job because of my computer certificate from U-TOUCH. This job has transformed my life.”
Opiyo is a graduate of the Gulu U-TOUCH Digital Center program. Today, he works at a printing company, from early in the morning until late at night. But he loves his job, the skills he’s gained and the possibilities he sees for his future.
“I will never forget U-TOUCH for the wonderful transformation it has brought into my life. It has made me who I am. It gave me a spear to go for a hunt, a net to go fishing.”
Atim Gracious was an unemployed woman from Patongo, about 40 km from Pader. After graduating from the Pader U-TOUCH Digital Center IT training she returned home and, with money from her father, started her own business providing computer training and typing, printing, photocopying, binding and scanning. Her clients include schools, NGOs, churches and individuals from all over the region.
“The best decision I ever made in my life was to attend U-TOUCH. My life has been totally transformed and I am self-reliant.”
Stephen shares his experience as a member of the U-TOUCH Digital Library Center in Gulu, Uganda:
This is Stephen and I’d like to talk about how the
U-TOUCH Digital Library Center, Gulu has benefited me. First of all, I would like to say I completely had no knowledge of what a computer is, in fact I had never even touched a computer since I was born and never thought of learning and using one some day. It was not until, the U-TOUCH project came in place and set up the Digital Library Centers here in northern Uganda that I got the opportunity to learn computer skills and at the moment, I really have substantial knowledge in computer skills and that has greatly impacted my life positively in a number of ways.
Having learned computer, and as a student in school, I realized that learning could be made easier with the use of computers and through the internet in particular and I’m so delighted to say I was able to frequently use the U-TOUCH Digital Library Center for my studies and it was not surprising that I was able to pass my high school leaving exams with really good and impressing grades, actually I emerged the best Arts student from my class in my subject combination of History, Economics, Geography and Entrepreneurship Education. After that, I got the opportunity to apply for University education and got admitted at Gulu university for a public administration course.
Still at the university I’m very much able to utilize the resource center for doing my assignments and course works utilizing the free internet access. So many of my friends and students from Gulu university have also been able to use the U-TOUCH Digital Library Center for research and study purposes and really they appreciate so much the services U-TOUCH is offering to the community in Gulu and other parts of the region. At the university, I’m able to do very well in class assignments and also exams as I can easily use a computer at the center for studying.
Besides that, I also got in touch with so many friends online and with the student to student connections and also the ementoring program, I have really gotten to learn and share lots of experiences with friends abroad especially in the states. I really hope these kinds of connection would in the long run become useful tools to students and other members of the community in Uganda as they get to share experiences of life and gain skills in their respective areas of interests. At the center still, I got to learn other enrichment skills being offered by U-TOUCH Digital Library center in Gulu and other centers in the region which include; job skills especially tips of creating attractive resume/CVs, writing application letters among others.
Also I learnt health tips and also attended the village savings and loans association training which has enable me to learn something about the need for saving wisely for future use and what is required to come up with such VSLA groups, it’s rules and regulations and so forth. Also very important is peace conferencing program that has really given me the skills in addressing problems and conflicts in the community and the world at large. I hope with all these skills I have gotten to learn from the U-TOUCH Digital Library Center, I would grow a responsible citizen and be able to work with self reliance utilizing all the great skills I have got to solve immediate problems around me.
“Long Live U-TOUCH!”
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