Medina Maneno is a 23-year-old resident of Adjumani town who had always had a love for tailoring. In 2019, Medina learnt from her friend about a tailoring training that was being advertised by Windle International.
Windle International is among the 54 organisations that received funding under the Skills Development Fund initiative, implemented by Enabel and the Ministry of Education and Sports. So far, Euro 6.5m has been invested by the Belgian government, Germany, the Embassy of Ireland and the European Union to train women and youth in Northern Uganda, Karamoja and the Rwenzori/Albertine region.
Medina jumped at the opportunity and applied immediately. By the end of the 6 months training in Adjumani, Medina could sew shirts, shorts, dresses, and skirts for both children and adults. She strengthened her skills during a 3-month internship at a tailor’s shop in Adjumani. In addition, she attended business skills training which emphasized customer care and marketing.
For almost one year after internship, Medina worked for a tailor, made enough savings and used them to rent premises at UGX 100,000 ($27.3) a month. She opened a tailoring shop called “Medina Classic Business Center", located at Openjiji road in Adjumani town. She started with one sewing machine which she received as part of her startup kit. She has since been able to acquire a second sewing machine. Having worked initially, Medina was able to establish a relationship with some of the clients, who followed her when she opened her business.
“My business is doing well and because I had worked before, some people in the community had known me and so they followed me and became my customers. They still come back to me even now.”
From the proceeds of her business, she is able to pay school fees for her brother, take care of her parents, and herself.
“I am helping my parents to pay school fees for my brother who is still in primary school so that he does not drop out like I did.”
Medina is now an independent young woman. She is currently training 2 girls at a fee of UGX 60,000($16) per month for a 6-months training. The girls were brought by their parents to Medina so that they could also learn how to tailor.
Medina has established three sources of income in her business. She sells imported African print material from Congo, makes clothes on order and sells clothes on display in her shop which she already tailored. Her peak season is during Christmas time when she can take home about UGX 80,000($21) from sewing 3 clothes per day. Medina says that no single day goes by without someone walking into her shop to seek her services.
She plans to shift to an even more spacious location so that she can have more storage space for her materials and tailored clothes. She practices good record keeping and also has a bank account for savings. Furthermore, she attributes this to the skills she learnt during the business skills training on re-investing back into her business.
“At first, my parents were doing everything for me. But now, I can take care of myself and also support them. They are very proud of me.”