I am called Kaviri Ali and I am a DOT Intern implementing the ReachUp! Program at Maendeleo Foundation, an NGO that is committed to helping build a productive computer services industry in East Africa, by connecting people and using the latest Internet technologies to boost personal incomes. In this blog post, I share how the program has transformed the lives of community members in Mukono.
Participants in my group came from all corners of Buttebbe, a small village in Mukono District, totally unaware of what they were going learn from the ReachUp! program offered by DOT Uganda at Maendeleo Foundation. At the beginning, most of them who comprised of youth, and middle aged women and men came along as self-centered and distant individuals, who cared less about others, or even what my co-facilitator and I had to offer during the training.
For me however, this was a sign of anxiety and inferiority complex. Nonetheless, I am glad to note that this is history now: courtesy of ReachUp!, that has given them the opportunity to bond, share experiences, and to learn.
Its now three weeks down the road into the program, and just yesterday, we decided to randomly ask a few questions to assess whether we were meeting their expectations that were overwhelming from onset and I am glad to inform you that our efforts are paying off. And although their stories are a mixture of accomplishments and challenges, one can see it in their eyes that they now have hope and plans for a brighter future.
Ms George, owner of a local Nursery School sharing how excited she is about the program.
For instance, most of our participants note that they are able to identify an opportunity, and work towards taking advantage of it and credit this to the different ReachUp! Modules, such as Mapping Your Assets and the Opportunity Market Place, which they have been participating in. Below, I bring you an account of a few testimonies:
David Gitta a 23-year-old male feels greatly energized to start any Business Project for an empowered future and he confesses that right now, the sky is the limit for him now that he has ICT and Business knowledge. He also has greater ambitions of visiting the United States of America (USA) one day since that the email account that he recently created has gotten him in contact with his long lost childhood friends who stay in the there.
16-year old Ritah Wanyana confesses to have been having had social anxiety but is now grateful its history since DOT has not only empowered her to relate, but has also given her the opportunity of contributing to meaningful discussions during the classes. Her computer skills like saving, bolding and flyer making and design have also been enhanced.
Fatumah, who happens to be the group leader voted by her fellow participants notes that she can’t wait to make new friends on social networks now that she has an email account. Speaking in public is also no longer a challenge. “The fear of speaking in public had kept me from realizing my potential. This training has however given the opportunity of overcoming this, and I can now express myself with our fear or favor,” she notes.
Justine, 14 says confesses to having learnt how to save professional documents from the ICT sessions and now envisages owning a Computer Training Centre in her village at one point in time: which she will use to empower the girl child with ICT skills. Julius Katende 20 acknowledges to having learnt how to access different computer programs like WordPad, Ms Word and Excel and plans on using them to advertise his business around the village.
The above pride stories shared by the participants are only a tip of the iceberg and they affirm one thing: when we strive to become better than we already are, everything around us becomes better too.