Prior to joining U-TOUCH’s Women’s Empowerment Program, Harriet had a certificate in catering but was unemployed. When she joined U-TOUCH, she had low self-esteem because of her financial status and was unable to find employment. After completing her Women’s Empowerment training, Harriet gained the courage to become an entrepreneur and start her very own coffee shop business. She has trained a number of youths with her computer skills and access to unlimited information. Harriet has been able to improve her standard of living with her knowledge and training from U-TOUCH. Her business serves as a great example of the hidden potential women in Uganda have, and the impact of U-TOUCH propels them into a life of success!
Did you know that over 86% of Africa’s population still has no Internet access? Rachael, a former SEVO International student, became aware of this issue when she realized her institution lacked computers. As a nursing student at SEVO, Rachael’s goal was to manage rescue, health care, and training facilities to service providers, highway clinics, and youth rehabilitation homes. A key part of this process is the Internet, and without it, Rachael was unable to fulfill her job as a student. She discovered the lack of Internet access and took initiative in her university by enrolling in U-TOUCH’s ICT Program. There she learned vital ICT skills that helped her in doing research and opening up a business. She is the proud owner of a drug shop in Uganda and uses her computer to track records in her business. With the help of U-TOUCH, Rachael has access to the world of information, communication, and education. Don’t take being connected for granted!
Within the Women’s Empowerment Program (WEP) at U-TOUCH, economic freedom is achieved with the help of effective life skills, access to technology, and positive support from a team of understanding volunteers. Joanita, a senior four leaver, had hoped to join a higher institution of learning but was not able to afford the tuition. In hopes of attaining a certificate in secretarial studies, Joanita was ecstatic when she heard about the free ICT and WEP offered at U-TOUCH through the local advert. After her training with U-TOUCH, Joanita received many certificates for her hard work and devotion to learning and became employed at the Shivling Supermarket in Mbale Town. She saw an opportunity, then hope, and then the confidence to set her own goals and developed a plan to achieve them.
In contrast to the western culture, women are the backbone of Africa. They are responsible for bearing children, caring for their families, working in the garden, and walking for hours for water. Mirriam is a senior four leaver who found herself losing hope in education due to financial constraints. After hearing about U-TOUCH through a friend, Miriam was hopeful for a new beginning, and quickly became interested in the Women’s Empowerment Program (WEP). Shortly after, she joined the program, completed her training, and applied her entrepreneurial skills to her new business. She currently owns a shoe shop that provides stylish footwear for men and women. Being able to sustain your family through the income you earn is a vital goal for not only Miriam, but women alike in Africa. By financially supporting themselves and their families, women are able to empower and change their communities and economics.
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.”