Uganda now hosts more than one million South Sudanese, who have fled across the border since the start of the war in 2013. In addition, Uganda hosts over 227,000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
With funding support from the European Commission Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO), the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) provides vocational and entrepreneurial training for refugees in Nyumanzi and Rhino settlements in northern Uganda.
Dorcas’s beauty salon
Dorcas is a mother of four. She fled the conflict in Jonglei, South Sudan. Today, she runs a beauty shop in the Nyumanzi refugee settlement in Uganda.
“Before the business project, we had nothing to do in the settlement,” she says. After participating in the enterprise management training, she has teamed up with three others to run a beauty shop in the settlement.
The shop is situated in one of the busy streets of Nyumanzi. Dorcas spends her days plaiting clients’ hair and selling beauty products. From what she earns, she is able to pay her share of the shop’s rent and earn a small income. Although business is fairly slow, she hopes it will pick up in the near future.
Tabio's grocery shop
Forty-seven-year-old Tabio is a mother of six children. She runs a grocery shop in Rhino refugee settlement in northern Uganda.
“I used to sell charcoal back in Goma, in DR Congo,” she says. She has participated in NRC’s enterprise management training and is now running a grocery shop where she sells tomatoes and tea, among other things.
Tabio escaped her home country when armed groups arrived in her neighbourhood.
“They tortured people, burned houses, raped women and girls and killed people,” Tabio recalls. “I decided to escape to save my life and that of my family.”
Nyakek’s tailor shop
Nyakek, 22, is a mother of three and a refugee from South Sudan.
Having finished her tailoring course at NRC's vocational training centre in Rhino settlement, she is eager to run her own shop.
“I look forward to a fruitful business,” she says.
Twenty-seven-year-old Ayikobua fled armed groups and instability in DR Congo in 2005. Today, he is a father of three and a participant in the electronics course at NRC’s vocational training in Rhino camp.
Although he’s still waiting to graduate and officially earn his certification, Ayikobua already has clients. They come to him to repair their radios, mobile phones and other electronic devices.
“I have five clients who have deposited faulty electronic gadgets that they want me to fix,” he explains.
Ayikobua likes his trade.
“I like being able to use my hands to solve people’s problems,” he says, looking forward to receiving his certificate and a start-up kit that will help him officially launch a shop.