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.”
Women’s empowerment training has been the most remarkable thing that ever happened to me. Through the training, I gained entrepreneurship skills, leadership skills among other skills that I use in my day-to-day life experiences.
Thanks to U-TOUCH for giving me a grant of 150,000UGX [$50] that helped me to resume my peanut butter business. This has greatly increased my financial ability. The business generates for me over 50,000UGX everyday and this income helps me to support my family. Unlike other vulnerable women, I am no longer financially dependent and I also employ two other ladies who help me with the processing of the peanut butter.
My success has had an important impact on the community by inspiring other ladies and I believe that as I advance I will also employ many other women.
I request U-TOUCH to reach out to a lot more vulnerable women out there who do not know about this program so that they too can discover the hidden potential they possess.
I credit all of this achievement to U-TOUCH WOMEN EMPOWERMENT PROGRAM.
THANK YOU FOR CHANGING MY LIFE.
I’m so grateful to U-TOUCH that through the Women Empowerment Program I was trained in many things like leadership skills and entrepreneurship skills that enabled me to achieve a milestone that is changing my life and helping me access greater opportunities. I emerged one of the Winners in the Business Proposal Competition that led to a cash prize of 150,000UGX. Using the grant I obtained a 120-liter blue drum that is very vital in the liquid soap process and restarted the Liquid Soap Processing Project that I had given up for lack of finances and limited entrepreneurship skills. I also purchased chemicals for liquid soap processing. I processed the soap and I’m excited that I have already started selling.
I’m excited to say that my sales are going up steadily and my liquid soap-processing center has attracted a contract of cleaning a reputable organization’s Regional Office here in Gulu. I have got several inquiries from women who want to be trained in liquid soap processing. This is the next project phase I will embark on. Also I have a strong vision of running a cleaning service, where I need to purchase a washing machine, and use this very liquid soap to do people’s laundry.
U-TOUCH, thank you so much for changing my life and empowering me with lots of information. I was humbled by the young ladies who were our facilitators. I believe every opportunity to acquire new knowledge should be taken seriously. As an empowered woman, I long for the time when we as “U-TOUCH alumni” will reach out to the villages to inspire woman who are remotely located to get information from us.