Julius’ copy shop and learning center

Julius is a teacher who decided to start a copy shop and computer center in the village he was teaching in. He tells his story as follows:
“My name is Mwasampijja Julius and I am a teacher from Butambala (Uganda). My journey started as a teacher in 2016 in Ngando Bright Primary School. During that year of my teaching we teachers, students and people in the community faced some problems as far as education is concerned:
– Making research by the students due to lack of a place where they can go to in that community. The only place where research can be made is a long distance from here;
– Photocopying documents, printing and scanning by people and students in the community was also a problem;
– There was no bookshop in the community where students, parents and teachers go to buy scholastic materials, which made everything more difficult;
– Moving far from the community to go to a place where they get those services makes education too expensive because it requires lot of transport.

People in the community depend on agriculture and cannot afford high costs for their children’s studies. As a teacher, I bought one laptop, one printer and one scanner but this is not enough for students in the community which are many in number. I also tried to bring few scholastic materials which schools and students use. But they are in high demand due to many students and schools.
My desire is to get a big place and more machines like computers, printers and scanners and to add more scholastic materials in the bookshop to make the learning of students in the community easy and solve people’s problems. My overall vision is to observe the needs of students and their parents in the community and to satisfy those needs. My plan is for this shop to be self-sustained once it is started.”

Julius has been the owner of his first copy shop for several years, during which time he taught many children how to use search engines and programs like Word, Excel, Powerpoint and so on. For some people who could not afford to pay for the individual classes, he offered free lessons, which was made possible by the other aspects of the business, which could cover the salaries of his employees.
The Covid-19 pandemic brought almost every business in Uganda to a halt and caused long school closures, so Julius’ customer base quickly vanished, so that he had to scale down.

He sold the big printer he used to have and one of the 2 computers, and moved everything else to a smaller, more decentralized location from which he is trying to keep the shop alive. This is proving very difficult though, due to the difficulty in reaching the shop and the basic equipment.
In order to provide Julius’ business with the push it needs to continue serving its customers, we reached out to a friend who is a succesful businessman in Kampala: Abubaker Ssemukoteka. He agreed to watch over this project from the financial perspective, so that we can be made aware of any hidden obstacles and misunderstandings due to the lack of local business knowledge in our organization can be cleared.


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Alice Cellamare

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