Paul is a DOT Uganda participant who believes that ReachUp! changed his life and put him on the road to changing the lives of other youth through his youth-led enterprise Tinkasoft International.
When Paul completed his post-secondary education in 2007, he went about looking for work. He circulated as many applications as he could, and volunteered everywhere he could, but was never successful. He was tired of working just for food but thought maybe that was his destiny. Deep down, he knew that he had the potential to do great things. He knew that he needed a career and not just a job.
A friend and DOT alumni, Ali Kaviri, invited Paul to attend a ReachUp! class at in Kampala. Paul was skeptical because he hadn't been into the city for training before and wasn't sure about what to expect. But once he got to the class, he was welcomed with open arms and consistent encouragement. This began his life-changing journey.
Paul received a lifetime-worth of training from DOT in just a few months. He learned a number of techniques to build his resume. He created a 30-second commercial to pitch himself and began using a computer as an office. More importantly, his facilitator helped him identify his passion and develop a vision.
The friendly youthful atmosphere made it so much easier for Paul to learn. He didn't feel intimidated or stressed out because he knew he was among peers. He completed all the ReachUp! modules but was nervous about what came next for him. He still did not have a job, but was gaining clarity about what he wanted to do with his life. Ali Kaviri, his DOT facilitator, continued to mentor him and share opportunities.
"I remember him Ali always telling me that he knew you can do it. He continued to encourage me and champion my success even after I graduated from ReachUp!."
Ali's encouragement sparked a new wave of confidence in Paul that led to the birth of his enterprise – Tinkasoft International. Tinkasoft is a youth-led enterprise that focuses on bringing an end to extreme poverty in Uganda. Paul's enterprise empowers children and youth with the skills and knowledge to lead a positive and happy life.
After months of developing his idea and launching his social enterprise, Paul began to see success.
"I received a Tumaini Award of honor and three million Ugandan shillings in June 2014. I was recognized as the best initiative country-wide that inspires children and youth to pursue education. Tumaini is a Swahili word meaning hope, and this award truly that signified the hope I had that came from empowering my community."
Paul's position as a leader also presented a number of opportunities. He built partnerships with community organizations to inspire children and youth. He worked with Plan International, Child Fund International, Straight Talk Foundation, and Kamuli District Local Government. Today, he also works as a graduate fellow with Educate! Uganda, that works to transform secondary education in Africa and develop young leaders and entrepreneurs.
"I am overflowing with joy for what I have achieved. Things I didn't think were possible, are now part of my day-to-day life. With a little determination, support, and encouragement, I was inspired to do more. None of these events would have happened to me without attending DOT's ReachUp!. My future is so bright that I'll need sunglasses to look forward!"