Tuesday December 5 2017

Don’t wait to graduate to create employment

They didn't wait: L-R Stephen Ocircan, Patrick

They didn't wait: L-R Stephen Ocircan, Patrick Ssegawa and Joyce Lucy Karabo  

By Desire Mbabaali

Most students wait until they graduate to look for jobs or start an income generating venture. As a student, there is something you can do either for your community or to earn a living even before you graduate. Today, students who have started initiatives in what seem like hopeless beginnings share their stories of reaping big.

Patrick Ssegawa:
Sexual and reproductive health advocate. Student of Masters in Public health – Uganda Martyrs University.

What started as a Music Dance and Drama club at university in 2010 is what triggered 27-year-old Ssegawa’s mind into the direction of edutainment. “I started with about four to seven of my colleagues. We used to love music and dancing so we formed a dance club -The Latino Rhythms Dance Academy where I was the president,” he explains. However, as time went by, the club grew into a machine that advocated for different public heal agendas.
“We later incorporated theatre and were part of a number of productions at the National Theatre on issues of gender equality, and fundraisers,” he says. In 2014, the group evolved into an NGO whose purpose was to increase awareness, sensitisation, and adoption of safe adolescent sexual and reproductive health behaviour and practices.
Having studied public Health at International Health Sciences University, Ssegawa and his colleagues, rebranded the group to Public Health Ambassadors Uganda (PHAU). “We did not have money, but my family was supportive, so one of my uncles helped me to register the organisation,” Ssegawa speaks of the genesis.
However, they started doing simple school outreaches where they would entertain and educate young people. That same year, they received a $1,000 (about Shs3.6 million) online grant through sharing their edutainment approach. They also started working with different partners such as Uganda Cares, TASO, and UAP Insurance, among others.
PHAU works in four thematic areas; sexual and reproductive health for young people, HIV/Aids for young people, water hygiene (specifically menstruation hygiene management) sanitation and youth economic empowerment. They use strategies such as peer education, edutainment, social media engagements and are employing 15 people as of today.

Joyce Lucy Karabo
Founder Girl’s Life Line/model, Public Administration student,
St. Lawrence University

Being a lover of fashion and having the talent, modelling became a passion Karabo runs to in her free time away from school. “I used to model for a TV show called Runway Heat on NBS TV but I am now a freelance agent. I get calls from people who know me to participate in their fashion shows,” Karabo, 24, says.
In addition to her modelling career, Karabo is the founder of a humanitarian Non-Governmental Organisation called Girl’s Life Line that aims at providing girls living in settlement camps – specifically, Bidibidi refugee camp sanitary utilities (toilet paper, pads and underwear). “I have been to a number of refugee camps in West Nile. I saw the conditions in which those young female refugees from South Sudan suffer and I knew I had to come in and help,” she says. Karabo seized the opportunity.
“I know that whereas those organisations such as United Nations in refugee camps render help, they cannot do everything. So, my organisation targets girls between the age 16-23 and provides sanitary materials. Not only that, but also empowering the refugees to make pads themselves. I am in touch with a number of people who make local sanitary pads and are willing to help,” she says. One of Karabo’s future plans is to open up a girl’s school in Bidibidi camp to provide quality education to girls in that community.
“Some people think that I am just seeking money because I am still a young girl. Money is good but it is not my motivation, changing communities is,” she adds.

Stephen Ocircan:
Ocistech Invesco Limited, Land Economics student at Makerere University.

To Ocircan,25, the need to start something of his own and the restrictions that come with paid employment are what drove him to start. “I feel it is better to operate my own business due to flexibility, because I can get time to attend classes and monitor the business,” he says. He also believes that working for others is not so flexible.
Ocircan ventured into the world of E-payment. “I am a Payway agent and we serve customers who are clearing various bills. I also run a Mobile money shop in Kyebando and employ one person,” he says.
As a student, he also offers consultancy services in his line of profession. “I do property valuation, title search and title transfers. However, I receive a few clients since I am not yet officially on board,” Ocircan adds.
He recently registered Ocistech Invesco Limited, a company that will offer real estate consultancy such as land and property evaluation, title search and verification, land surveying, title processing and boundary opening. It will also engage in property management for landlords, buying and selling land.

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