Baluku Rickdan is a 19 years old youth from Nyamisingiri Village, Nombe Sub County in Ntoroko district. He is born from a polygamous family to a parent whose average income was less than a dollar a day. He dropped out of school in senior 2 in 2013 at the age of 15 due fees challenges and enrolled in YIA program in 2014

“YiA trained us on how to save and start business with the little resources to change our lives”, Rickdan recalls. Rickdan took this message and acted upon it. During the 5 months course of learning, Rickdan mobilized 24 other boys from his village to form a rotational savings scheme where, we used to save 1000 Ugx (About $0.5 each week) and give it to one member. At our second seating, Rickdan was given 22,000 by the group which he topped it up with 8000 UGX that he had, bought 2kg of cowpeas that he planted in August 2014, later sold the harvests at 180,000UGX (about $54). He reinvested this money in onion farming in March 2015 from which he made an income of 1,558,600 Ugx ($472). With this money, he joined a savings group in the village in which he saved 320,000, bought three goats worth 461,000, paid school fees for his siblings worth 300,000 and used the rest of the money to hire a bigger garden to expand the one on the family land where he planted onion using the material he had saved previously.

From the sale of onions which he harvested in mid-May as stated above, he raised 2,443,000UGX. Out of this money he saved 900,000UGX with a SACCO at his village where he earns profits each month as this money was banked in this SACCO (each 100,000 earns him profit of 6000UGX.He was able to pay school fees worth 207,000 for his three siblings in primary and secondary school and support the family to meet their daily basic needs. He also used 860,000UGX to contribute some materials such as Timber for the construction of the goat shed that save the children supported him with most of the materials.

YIA team visited him again and it was so amazing to see the progress he has so far made: from 20th April 2016 up to date his goats have been able to increase from 7 to 13 with 7 kids where he sold off 3 goats at 225,000 (75000@) and used the money to rent two plots of land (half an acre each) at 90,000UGX each where he planted 22 basins of onion and the other with beans and cassava in June 2016 that he was able to raise 1,591,000 UGX and 300,000 UGX from the harvest in November from which he managed to save 27 basins for planting in march and went on to buy a fish pond from one of the members in the village at 430,000 UGX and plans to expand the project by adding one more pond since the space is enough.

In order to independent from his parent’s Rickdan has bought 15 iron sheets at 300,000 for a house he is soon starting to construct on a piece of land given to him by his father.

“I thank Save the Children and Ride – Africa for bringing this program; I can’t believe that even older people are learning from me. My father who had given up farming thinking it is a worthless venture has resumed after seeing the money I made in such a short time.” Rickdan narrates.

Author