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European Union Trust Fund (EUTF) - Support Programme for Refugee settlements in Northern Uganda (SPRS-NU) Livelihood and Labor Market Relevant Skills Development for Refugees & Host Communities

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Christine Hopes for huge tenders

Christine Hopes for huge tenders

The 24-year old Christine Night fled South Sudan in 2016 when war broke out. She had just completed senior one. Christine now lives in Bidi Bidi refugee settlement, Yumbe District.     On arrival at the settlement, she says life was challenging. Christine spent several months jobless.   The situation however started to change after she was accepted for a skills training programme by Enabel and the Norwegian Refugee Council.  Christine was trained in tailoring and garment cutting.    The zone 4 resident started a clothing business shortly after completion of the training. She named the business “God’s wish tailoring”.     Life has never been the same ever since Christine started the business. She has become one of the highly sought-after school uniform designers in the settlement. The demand for uniforms is high here.     A pair of shorts costs 15,000 shillings while a shirt is 11,000 shillings. She charges 12,000 shillings for a full “kitenge.”    “Individual parents contract me to make school uniforms for their children. My desire is to get a school tender and be the sole supplier. However, this requires a lot of capital which I do not have at the moment,” Christine says.    To boost her entrepreneurial skills, Christine underwent a business management training which provided her with additional skills including customer care, digital marketing and bookkeeping.    “I have learnt how to cost and price my business. I now welcome my customers, I also can send an email and WhatsApp messages with orders of my kitenge,” she confesses.    Although she does not own a smartphone, she uses the one of a friend with whom she attended the training.    Christine sometimes learns about new fashion trends from YouTube through her friend’s phone.     “I give her 2,000 shillings for data and check out YouTube for new fashions and how to cut cloth for such designs,” she reveals.     Like any business, she encounters challenges. Her major setback was when thieves broke into the shop and took off with 9 rolls of cloth material.     She now shifts her merchandise on a daily basis to and from home for safety reasons. But this is hectic.     Additionally, she markets her products by word of mouth and sometimes has to trek long distances to tell people about the business.     The challenges withstanding, Christine manages to save 12,000 shillings every week.     The mother of three is one of the 4830 refugee and host community youth, women and girls Enabel equipped with employable skills through the Support to Skilling Uganda (SSU) programme.     SSU focuses on increasing access to quality skills development through training scholarships, entrepreneurship skills and start-up kits for refugees and host communities.   The project is funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund.   

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