The dream restaurant in Pont J – Imvepi Refugee settlement

Noway Mary, 24 years old, is a South Sudanese Refugee settled at point J, Imvepi Refugee settlement. She is married with one child, and her husband is a driver in South Sudan.

She was trained in catering and hotel management from Lodonga Polytechnique Institute through support from Oxfam under the Enhancing youth Entrepreneurship and employability project funded by Oxfam IBIS. Upon completing the three months ‘training, she was supported with a set of start-up kits comprising a set of dinner plates, teacups, cutlery, a flask, a kettle, a dozen of Sauce pans, and frying pans. Immediately she got the start-up kits, she feared starting up a restaurant due to the lockdown with the fear of not having customers. She resorted to buying and selling dry fish in the Imvepi market.

With continuous follow-up and encouragement by the Oxfam field team, she gained courage and started up her restaurant in Mid-July 2021. Surprisingly, the restaurant has picked up very fast and has become the restaurant of choice for most occupants of point J in Imvepi. Her biggest challenge now is inadequate space and capital to meet client demands.

The restaurant is in point J and currently has a sitting capacity of 20 clients. She is currently specialized in preparing breakfast and lunch only. She said she borrowed Uganda shillings 100,000, which she added on her little savings from selling the fish and the little support from her husband to buy tables, chairs, Benches, Jerrycans, stoves and more utensils. She employs one staff that she pays 60,000 per month.

She said she doesn’t regret leaving the fish business because the restaurant is far more rewarding. She said she currently earns an average of Uganda shillings 50,000 per day. She was advised to register a business name with Uganda Registration Services Bureau so that she can start bidding for outside catering services from partner NGOs implementing projects within and around Imvepi refugee settlement.

Prepared by Jasper Ocen, EFSVL assistant, Oxfam – Imvepi field office

Oxfam in Uganda, with funding from Oxfam IBIS, has been implementing an Emergency Food Security and Vulnerable Livelihoods ( EFSVL) project within and around Imvepi and Omugo zone of Rhino camp refugee settlement in West Nile sub-region. The project is titled Enhancing youth entrepreneurship and employability skills for sustainable livelihoods in refugee and host communities, West Nile, Uganda. The project seeks to empower vulnerable South Sudan refugee youth to have sustainable access to employment opportunities and dignified livelihoods. the project is a continuity of Oxfam’s previous intervention to introduce livelihood support programs, enabling refugees and host communities to rebuild their productive assets and enhance their entrepreneurship aspirations.