If career background is anything to go by, then 28-year-old Hakim Kasirye, who had worked as an assistant human resource manager for two big hotels and later a parking management company, would never have ventured into empowering youth as he does today.
The graduate of Information Systems from Makerere University got his first job in 2014 with Imperial group of hotels and later joined KAPS Ltd from 2015 to 2016.
He was then hired as an Information Technology manager and assistant marketer for Wellington, Unity Skin and Roswell specialist clinics under the same management.
Later in 2017, Hakim decided to start a journey of empowering, mentoring and guiding the youth under Career Chapter Africa, an NGO he had founded back in 2015.
Kasirye says the fact that many young people are not fully oriented towards the working environment in the job market today has increased the rate of unemployment among them.
“It’s, therefore, the major reason why I started empowerment and skills development programmes through Career Chapter Africa,” he says of the organisation that was started on October 25, 2015.
“We realised that mentorship provides a sense of direction. It also dives into self-discovery which unlocks a lot of positive energy in any individual, builds a positive attitude which is a necessity in the dynamics of a competitive world.”
Their current focus is on primary school children and those in secondary school, but Kasirye says they are drawing programmes for those in university.
Kasirye says they have had several active outreaches across the country, including Bundibugyo, Jinja, Lira, Mbarara, Wakiso, Mbale, Mukono, Masaka, and Buliisa districts.
“We have mentored the youth, young mothers and children. We have also built rapport with several district heads for the three and half years we have been in operation and have created a strong network around Uganda, Africa, Europe and USA,” he says.
They have equipped a number of youth with hands-on skills in perfumery, cosmetology, crafting, marketing, product and personal branding, financial literacy, mechanics and mental health, among others.
Their focus, Kasirye says, is on creating positive mind-sets amongst young people, exploiting their untapped potential and helping them discover their natural abilities so that they can create positive impact in their communities.
Insufficient funds to run operations is a recurring issue, Kasirye says, adding that they never have enough to run the various campaigns.
“But not all hope is lost. We are creating partnerships with Civil Society Organisations to help us reach more people and improve their lives. We also write proposals for funds.”
Having a small team is another hindrance, so they work with several volunteers to deliver what they set out to do.
Despite seeming to have changed careers from what he pursued at university, Kasirye says informatics has helped him a lot in his new career path.
“Lately, NGOS are embracing and applying Information Technology for the operation of most of their activities. For example, doing data collection, publicity, digital marketing, visibility human capital, appraisals, and finance management with IT knowledge makes the team’s performance extremely great.”
Kasirye draws mentorship from Dr Edris Mutebi, the head of endocrinology at Mulago National Referral Hospital.
“I met Dr Mutebi when I started working for Wellington Diabetes and Heart Clinic as their IT manager. He was introduced to me as one of the directors of the clinic and from then, he has done a great deal for Career Chapter Africa and me, individually.”