Having lost his father in 2012 and his mother 4 years later has not deterred Johnson Ategeka from succeeding in life.
He dropped out of school in primary six because he occasionally had to first take on odd jobs to get school fees and other basic needs.
It was during this period that George Akora, Executive Director of Yawe Foundation picked up the two brothers (Ategeka and Francis) and took them under his care.
In 2017, he enrolled them for a one-year welding course at Yawe Foundation after which they upgraded their skills at St. Joseph’s Technical Institute, an Institution supported by Enabel to become a centre of excellence in Automotive mechanics situated in Fort Portal City.
“I excelled at St. Joseph’s and was retained to work there,” Ategeka reveals. From the proceeds of his work, he was able to buy 12 hens and 2 goats.
“I have now been self-employed for one and half years and have been able to achieve a number of things,” a smiling Ategeka shares.
He has entered into a partnership with Yawe Foundation to produce shutters for their 3-storeyed building that will house the Foundation’s skills training centre.
“We cost share on electricity and other utilities and the Executive director has continuously found for me big contracts from his colleagues in town,” he explains.
Ategeka has recently joined Yawe saving scheme where he has deposits of more than Sh. 100,000.
“I save between Sh.10,000 and Sh.30,000 every month,” he reveals. The young entrepreneur has not borrowed from the Scheme yet but will do when he starts on his business expansion programme.
Ategeka, has so far trained two youth and will train another three soon. His training in welding and metal fabrication lasts 7 months. He charges Sh.80,000 per month and Sh. 500,000 annually.
“This money is to buy training materials and pay for utilities such as electricity,” he quickly adds.
His plan is to save enough money to buy land and build a home for himself.
“I want to grow this business and have a big display area and expand to other districts too,” the ambitious Ategeka reveals adding “I want to work hard and be able to afford the good things of life.”
Ategeka plans to start a family in 4 years’ time and hopes to have expanded his business by then. The 24year old whose interest had always been welding attributes his success to discipline, quality products and timely delivery of customers’ work.
“I encourage other youth to embrace skills training because one cannot sleep hungry when they are skilled,” he advises.
His products range from Sh.200,000 to 300,000 for a window and doors could go for between Sh.600,000 to 800,000 while a gate costs Sh.2,500,000.
His only challenge is the unstable prices of raw materials, unreliable power, and the lack of other equipment used in making heavy door frames.
Ategeka is one of the 3,153 youths that have been skilled in the Albertine/ Rwenzori region by Enabel, through its Support to Skilling Uganda project aimed at equipping youths with skills for economic transformation and self-reliance.