Proud to support my family

My vision is to become a trainer of trainees in the tailoring business in Imvepi Settlement and South Sudan when we get back to our motherland in some unknown years to come.

My name is Shida Gladys, a single mother of a one year old. I am 22 years old, a South Sudanese refugee residing in Imvepi Refugee settlement. We ran from South Sudan to Uganda in February 2017 following the outbreak of unending civil wars. Life was not easy, as my ageing parents could not provide basic needs for our large family of 08 members.

In November 2020, I got information from our village chairperson that Oxfam, together with the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) put out adverts to train youths in vocational skills. I immediately applied for the course of tailoring and garment cutting. After two weeks, we were invited for verification interviews, out of which I emerged as one of the successful trainees.

In February 2021, we were taken to Lodonga Polytechnique institute in Yumbe for a three-month training which we completed in May 2021. On completion, Oxfam gave us start-up kits (mine was a sewing machine) as a starting capital for our business. I set up a small shade in Imvepi Point J market in June 2021 and started making some little money from the dresses I sewed. On an average day, I sometimes make UGX 10,000 to 15,000 , but on good days I can make between UGX 20,000 to 30,000.

Recently, God answered my prayers when UNHCR contracted us to make 129,360 pieces of face masks at the cost of UGX 1,000 each. Of the 129,360 face masks, each person sewed 1,176 pieces. From the UNHCR contract, I earned UGX 1,176,000. I want to use part of this money to acquire another new set of sewing machines. I plan to recruit and employ at least two or three youths to work with me.  

Since I started this tailoring business, I can provide basic needs like soap, salt, and food for my child and the entire family of 8 members, including three males and five females and my aged parents. I am part of a ‘merry go round’ (cash pooling group) with 21 members who contribute UGX 4,000 daily. I also save UGX 5,000 weekly in my VSLA group.

I am saving this money to go back to Lodonga technical institute to perfect my skills in tailoring and garment cutting to achieve my vision!

I request that Oxfam continues supporting persons of concern to continue living a positive life.

Prepared by: Andrew Moini Drichi, EFSVL Assistant - Imvepi

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.