My name is Gracious. I hail from Patongo Town Council in Agago District, About 40 Km from Pader. I first learnt of the free ICT training at AMREF /U-TOUCH Center at Pader in January 2012. I then applied and joined it in February and completed in April 2012, I then graduated in May. I had, prior to joining U-TOUCH, unsuccessfully looked for a job but now when I got back home after the training, I asked my father to help me with some capital to start a business of my own. Convinced by my newly attained computer skill backed by a beautifully designed certificate of completion, he gave me funds to start a secretarial and stationery business.
Patongo had been lacking a quality and reliable computer services. Some people have the resources but lack the skill to operate computers. As a result many businesses had in the past opened and closed barely after 4 months of operations. I felt that, I could fill that gap. I then travelled to Kampala and purchased a used photocopier, a computer, a binder and an assortment of stationery and opened the business called Good Hope Stationery in May 2012, a few weeks after my graduation. The choice of name is self explanatory. U-TOUCH is a dawn of Hope in my life. Services offered include Typesetting, printing, photocopying, binding, scanning, sale of stationery and computer training on Office 2007 applications. My clientele range from Schools, NGO’s, Churches, all the neighboring sub counties to individuals.
I have operated this business for 8 months now. I feel these are some of my achievements;
• My skill has not only been retained but also enhanced.
• I am self employed, the work keeps me busy and I am not even interested in looking for other jobs.
• I now have enough resources to cater for my basic needs like cloths, housing, education, and Health.
• I have trained 3 people in basic computer applications.
• High cost of maintenance for computer. Patongo lacks skilled people to repair and maintain computers. The ICT Trainer Pader has promised to provide support in terms of maintenance of equipment.
• The weather is very harsh and not conducive for the computers. There is a lot of heat and dust in Patongo and this also affects the sensitive parts of these machines.
• Some customers bring jobs but they don’t come back to pay and pick them. This leads to wastage of time and resources.
• I still don’t have a standby generator incase of load shedding.
• I intend to add more computers, provide internet and training services to many people in Patongo.
• I intend to upgrade my studies starting August this year. I want to study accounts from Nsamizi School of Social Works and Social Administration, so that I run my business professionally.
I want to thank AMREF and U-TOUCH for the free training rendered to us in ICT and enrichment programs like entrepreneurship, life skills and job skills. I had not realized their value then, but now I have realized that the best life decision I have ever made in my life was to join U-TOUCH. My life has been totally transformed, I am self-reliant now. I strongly encourage other people, especially girls, to join the training at AMREF/U-TOUCH Center, Pader.
“Opportunity only knocks once, embrace it.
Thank you U-TOUCH, for TOUCHing my Life”