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By Joseph Malinga Ojok Sunday, 30, is busy swinging his legs back- and -forth. His hands equally move the same direction. The father of four, is a tailor and is busy sewing a cloth he has just received from a client. He does his work at Gulu market but under someone else’s business.

Often, he receives work from individuals but also gets subcontracts. “I am self-employed but renting a space from someone. Mainly, I mend clothes from individuals especially students. At times, I also receive sub contracts from some of the senior tailors,” he said.

Ojok, is a beneficiary of the livelihood project NUDIPU is implementing in northern Uganda. The Disabled Peoples Organisation Denmark (DPOD), is funding the three year Programme. He benefited under apprentices after being place under one of the tailors in town who trained him. After the training he also received a sewing machine from NUDIPU and has since been able to start his own business though still very minimal.

“You know, it is not easy to start something but slowly I will get there. At least I am getting something small that I am able to use to support my family. I am very grateful to NUDIPU for giving me an opportunity to change my life,” said a jovial Ojok.

On a good day, he earns shs 20,000. He spends shs 8000 per day from what he earns. He has seven dependants, four of them are school going. He has to meet schools of shs 400,000 per term. With his little earnings, Ojok may not be able to meet this high expenditure. He therefore, supplements his earnings through agriculture. The savings he makes from his tailoring work is what he uses to facilitate agriculture. He grows the usual crops like cassava; millet, simsim and ground nuts.

From his expression, Ojok looks relieved from some sort of stress. Indeed, he is now stress free. Initially, Ojok was a bodaboda (commercial) cyclist and would really find life very hard and risky given that he is physically disabled. Two of his brothers were engaged in the same business but passed on due to accidents. So he was often worried about dying just like his brothers. Fortunately, when he heard of NUDIPU, he sought for support, which he received. Since then, Ojok considers himself as a successful man. 

“I am happy that I have received the skills that I had for long admired. I am sure my life is going to change. I find it safe working as a tailor as opposed to when I was working as a bodaboda cyclist,” Ojok says of new job.

His challenge is however, that he has little capital to afford materials, so most times when there are no clothes to mend, he simply sits. Things are usually hard during holidays because he is still new in the business. In other occasions he experiences discrimination due to his disability. “We still have some people who think we can’t do a good job as PWDs. So they tend to ignore us and take their work to other tailors are able bodied,” he says.

Ojok is appealing to NUDIPU to find means of providing him with some capital worth shs 500,000. One thing about Ojok though is that, even when he is still new in the business of tailoring, he is now sharing his skills with two other needy none disabled persons where he receives shs 30,000 per month.


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