In this blog post, Sofatita shares how the ReachUp! program changed his ambition, and in turn, his community.
My name is Sofatia, from Kibuku District. I was born to poor parents who abandoned me at the young age of 12. Faced with this reality, I had to struggle on my own from primary school, right up to college where I studied electrical installation. As destiny would have it, during my last year of school, the institute hosted guests from Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) who were partnering with Nkozi Agri-Business Training Association to train students a package of 25 modules in the ReachUp! program, after which they would give a certificate upon completion.
I was reluctant to join DOT at first, but because the program was free, I took my chances. I was excited to dive into parts of the curriculum that included using a computer as a goal manager, developing a vision, and so much more.
ReachUp! was an eye opener. I began a journey to self discovery that sparked the desire in me work towards achieving my dreams. Knowing that I had a final goal allowed me to look past providing free manual labour in exchange for free tuition. Sure enough, it paid off when I graduated with distinctions from the Electrical Installations program at the Katonga Technical Institute.
DOT IMPACT IN MY LIFE
With my ReachUp! knowledge in one hand, my Electrical installation in the other, and a burning desire to create change in my community, I was ready to begin! I started by repairing mobile phones from a friend's veranda and saved enough money to buy a digital camera. From that point on, I was able to offer a mobile photo studio in addition to telephone repair which allowed me to afford a space of my own. I used my savings group network to access a loan for the electrical appliances I needed to move forward, and successfully repaid the money. I am proud to say that for the last 2 years, I have had a fully operational electrical shop and photo studio named Zebra Electrical and Photographic Enterprise in Kagumu trading centre.
IMPACT ON THE COMMUNITY
I discovered that within my community there was a gap in access to digital technology, and I had the capacity to close that gap. I decided to extend the services I provided to include: typing, printing, passport pictures, photo editing, video coverage, and affordable internet services. I strongly believe that making digital technology more accessible has contributed to the development of my community. To adhere to my saving culture, I started a saving group that is functional up-to-date. We have formed an association called Kagumu Agri-Business Training Initiative (KABUTI) that I am hoping that DOT could come and extend those services to my people in Eastern Uganda in months to come.
From a humble beginning, I now envision my shop extending to more areas and employing more youth in my community.
Great thanks go to the donors of DOT Uganda because without them, that program would be nowhere to be accessed, NABTA management for partnering with DOT to extend that service to the youth. I thank our instructors for the efforts they did to ensure that we understood the package and lastly the K.T.I management that allowed that program in the institute.