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Karamoja Region Skills Development Project

Skilling Karamoja
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SYLVIA LACHORO THE FEMALE TRACTOR MECHANIC FROM NAPAK

From the little-known village of Lopida in Kangole town, Napak District, Karamoja region in Uganda, diminutive but resilient Sylvia Lachoro is has become an iconic mechanic.When you meet her on the dusty streets, her physical appearance cannot easily define the “lioness” spirit and ability to deliver. “I know this trade is generally reserved for men, but I joined to demystify this falsehood. Women too can be mechanics and I’m determined to be one of those very good ones,” she says with a shy smile.Her story begins from the time when her uncle Lote Michael (RIP) gave her a ride in a car that he had just repaired. She immediately admired him and she made up her mind to become a mechanic. “Uncle Lote is long gone, but I will never forget the impact he had on me after telling me that I could become anything I want,” she said. The dream to become a mechanic became reality when one of the graduates from Kangole technical institute came to her home with an application form requesting her to join the Skilling Uganda programme.  He encouraged her to apply even when she had resorted to selling local brew with her mother. At the time, she had also already given birth to her first baby at the age of 17. She revealed that life as a single mother was tough and she needed survival skills.  Lachoro enrolled for a certificate course in Mechanics and Moto-vehicle repair at Kangole master-craft garage. Lachoro confesses that she had to ignore a lot of teasing from the boys in the mechanics class. She clearly knows that this was to be the turning point in her life. In 2018, she completed the course and joined a road side garage in Napak owned to a one Hamid Kodet for her field practice. After for four months training she completed and was employed by the Lugazi Sugar corporation (SCOUL) as a trainee mechanic. She earns UGX 200,000 (approx. USD 70) a month and can afford the basics for her baby. “My life has changed a lot. I surely now know that skills can be very rewarding” she says with a smile. Sylvia lachoro is a true story of Karamojong girls with personal interest to learn skills in male dominated trades in order to escape extreme poverty.

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