Having lost his father in early 2004, Happy Emmanuel aged 20 years from Kanyansi village, Kanara town council Ntoroko district could not complete his secondary education because his mother could not afford school fees. His father and mother had 3 three children but after his father passed on, his mother got married elsewhere and had more 7 children making them 10. Unfortunately his step father also passed on which worsened their livelihood situation as their mother could not support all of them single handily in terms of basic needs such a food, education, clothing and medical care. He had no option but to take on the most common casual job for youth in Kanara town council which is fishing for the rich. To make matters worse for him, he had impregnated a young girl in the village so he had to take responsibility for his actions as well
‘I worked for the rich men but after all the hard work and making money for the boss, you are given only 30,000UGX per day which was also dependent on the catch for the day. This was not sufficient to support me and my family plus helping out my mother and my other siblings’ Happy recalls
When he heard about Youth in Action program, he decided to take part in cohort 3 of the program alongside his casual job. During the program, they were taken through the modules which were so helpful according to him. ‘I learnt how to differentiate and balance between needs and wants and this actually helped me a lot to save some money’ he recalls.
After participating in learning, just like others of the same cohort, he received 300,000UGX as start-up capital which he topped up by approximately 100,000UGX and bought 10 nets and other things needed to support him in fishing. He then started fishing with his own nets and employed one casual labourer who supports him in the business.
‘It feels so good to be your own boss because no one cheats you; the first night I went fishing, I got 90,000UGX, the second time I got 150,000UGX and the third time I got 300,000. This money supported me to buy a one roomed semi-permanent structure which I now live in. I will be able to save the 15,000UGX which I used to pay as rent in a month’. Happy narrated
He was also able to buy a goat with 2 kids and he still gives support to his mother, his family and his younger siblings. He hopes to buy a bigger plot of land and build a bigger and better house in future. Just like his friend Kizza and all the other fisher men, the rainy season has not been favourable to his business of recent as there is a lot of wind and in addition to this, he has the fear of his fishing nets being confiscated by the government as they are of smaller sizes.