I MAKE FEMALE AND BABY CLOTHES TO EARN EXTRA INCOME
Nancy Hope Tikolu, 22 years old is from Adjumani district, Ofua Sub-county, Tianyu Central Village. Hope is from a family of three children and she’s the first born.
She was raised by a single mother, following the separation of her parents. Her mother a peasant farmer did not have enough funds to support her further her education in university. She applied for the FAWE – Mastercard scholarship program after hearing about it from her cousin. Before joining the program, “we had many family problems like fights – domestic violence. At this time, I was not in school and had lost hope of ever furthering my studies.”
As a result of the Corona Virus, COVID 19 Pandemic, the Government of Uganda declared a lockdown, resulting to the closure of learning institutions. At this time, I realized that I had much time in my disposal but had nothing to do. I was motivated to think outside the box, by someone I met and encouraged me to learn a skill and by being productive during this time. He noted that, this can help you earn a living even in case you failed to get a job immediately after school. That is when I came up with the idea of crocheting. I made/crocheted my first top in first year but I didn’t complete it, and I realized that I can do better.
Currently I make lots things including; female tops, skirts, baby booties and baby caps. My talent started when I was in Primary school, although I didn’t want to do the usual things that people do like door mats. I searched online for different designs of clothes that can be made. I saved some money to a tune of UGX. 240,000, sent it to my aunt to buy some threads. I received the items in August 2020, and I started making but on order as I didn’t want to waste my threads due to failure by people to pay. As a result, I made two off shoulder tops, where I sold one at 35,000/= and the other 30,000/=. I too make baby capes and shoes because the threads are cheaper. I calculate my profits according to the thread used.
The crocheting project has helped raise some money for myself and widened my network through meeting new friends. I have too learnt some new patterns and designs that I didn’t know before through online research.
I have too learnt that in business, the money or the profit you make from it; you don’t spend it all; you have to keep the capital and some profit to keep injecting in the business and make it grow. As a result of the financial literacy trainings, I attended under the Extended Orientation Program (EOP), today; from all the money I get or earn, save 60% in my account and use the rest productively. I too commit and dedicate my time to make the items for sale especially during weekends and public holidays. As a result of the business skills I have acquired, in future I plan to start a whole sale shop of braids (hair products). Currently I am saving funds for this initiative.
After accomplishing my studies and in case I don’t secure a job for myself immediately, I plan on gaining experience by volunteering in professional field i.e., in any pharmacy or hospital. And to continue earning, will concentrate on my crochets too. I also have a friend with whom; we are saving together, to open a take away restaurant because there is none here in adjumani. I once thought of buying an ice cream machine but very many people have the same idea and the competition would be high. According to our assessment, there’s a huge opportunity in fast food as there are no people talking about it. We have planned to save UGX.1,500,000/- every semester in addition to another saving group I am currently part of and helping me raise some income to support people at home.
During this lock down, we too formed an association called Adjumani Students Association where I am currently the serving secretary. We have undertaken a number of activities including; counsel people, visiting schools and giving career guidance talks to students, we hold radio talk shows creating awareness on several issues affecting communities including the urgent need to end child marriages and teenage pregnancies that have reached alarming rate during this time. We create awareness on COVID 19 and its management. This year before COVID 19 outbreak, we also successfully organized a leadership training where we invited different schools at the main purpose hall at Gulu University where we took them through career guidance, discipline and how to excel in their studies.
I thank FAWEU for the scholarship opportunity and for all the support I have received; because it is really more than enough, I keep praying for them and God will surely bless them.
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