When Abuyi Talibu was in Senior Six, his sponsor died, and he was forced to drop out of school. He resorted to working as a ‘loader’ to make ends meet.
“I began loading bricks and other construction materials onto trucks and the most I could go back home with, at the end of a very tough day was only UGX 100 ($3 cents).”
Abuyi needed a better job but without a diploma or degree, his chances of securing one were out of reach. Fortunately, his uncle tipped him about a training opportunity in welding by an organization called Welthungerhilfe. Welthungerhilfe was financed by the Skills Development Fund, an innovative skills financing mechanism jointly implemented by Enabel and the Ministry of Education and Sports.
Upon enrollment in 2018 at Siripi Tours Skills Training Center in Terego district, Abuyi who had no prior knowledge in welding, focused on learning each and everything he could about the trade. At the end of the 6 months training, he undertook two extra training courses on entrepreneurship and life skills for 3 months. This was followed by an internship for 2 months at a welding workshop in Yumbe. At the end of the internship, he received a start-up kit to aid him in his entrepreneurship journey. Armed with new knowledge, skills and tools, Abuyi was confident enough and ready to open up his welding workshop.
“I knew that I had an advantage over the welders in Yumbe because I had been taught extra skills that they were lacking. So, I believed that I had the potential to attract more customers because I could produce better quality products.”
However, Abuyi realized that he needed money to rent a place and even more to buy welding machines. He therefore decided to put his dream of owning a workshop on hold, to acquire enough starting capital. He sought employment at a welding workshop in Yumbe, where he worked for 2 years while saving as much money as he could.
In 2021, Abuyi established his welding workshop in Yumbe town with the help of the startup kit from the trainers and the capital he had saved while working. Today, Abuyi, 27, owns “Excel Welding Workshop” located along Koboko-Moyo road. He employs 4 youths, one of whom is a refugee from Piripiri camp. He started off as an intern, but Abuyi retained him due to his hard work and positive attitude. Abuyi also trains other youth in fabricating sliding doors and windows, tank stands and aluminum doors. His workshop was identified as a suitable training ground for interns by an organization called Edukans.
Abuyi can now cater for himself, his wife and child and also his sibling whose school fees he pays. On average, he goes home with UGX 25,000($7) as his profit per day. Abuyi has been able to build his own home. He has also ventured into agriculture as a business. In 5 years’, Abuyi hopes to own a car to ease transportation in his business. He also plans on opening up another branch of his business at the border near South Sudan.
Yumbe is near South Sudan. This makes it an ideal location for trade due to an increased and diverse market. It also has four major road networks connecting the districts of Koboko, Moyo, Obongi and Arua.
Abuyi is grateful for the training he received because of the change he has noticed in his lifestyle.
“Before this training, it was very hard for me to save even UGX 100shs. But now, in a day, I can take home more than UGX20, 000($5) and because of that, I have been able to build my own house and even venture into agriculture.”
His short-term plan is to register his company so that he can be able to apply for larger contracts and attract more revenue.
Abuyi is among the 5,622 youth that have been trained in Northern Uganda since the inception of the Skills Development Fund in 2016. The Fund is supported by the European Union and German Cooperation.