Student presents gift to Prof. Nawangwe: He acknowledges VC’s efforts in maintaining the University’s pride and importance | Makerere University News Portal
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Student presents gift to Prof. Nawangwe: He acknowledges VC’s efforts in maintaining the University’s pride and importance

  • In General
  • 15 May 2018 - 10:21am
  • By Proscovia Nabatte
  • 788
Joseph Kayongo presenting the gift to the Vice Chancellor.

“I present this gift to you as a sign of appreciation for your tremendous role in nurturing students and your efforts in maintaining the University’s pride and importance. Your relationship with students is indeed well paying. This is my work, through which I have been able to pay my tuition and facilitate myself for the three years I have been here.” This is how overwhelmed Joseph Kayongo started his conversation when he met his Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe. 

Mr. Kayongo Joseph, hitherto an undergraduate student of Social Sciences, visited the Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe on Friday, 11th May 2018 at his office. He acknowledged the Vice Chancellor’s love and dedicated efforts towards a better Makerere when he said, “I have been following your work ever since I joined Makerere University. By then you were the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration. Your passion for this institution’s wellbeing is well expressed in your speeches and writings. That is why I have decided to present this gift to you Professor.”

Kayongo presenting his products to the Vice Chancellor.

The Vice Chancellor thanked Mr. Kayongo for recognising his efforts at the University and equally appreciated his visit. Overjoyed to see his branded gift, labelled Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Prof Nawangwe acknowledged Kayongo’s talent and creativity. He strongly commended his brilliance and zeal to start a business that has enabled him to meet his academic goals.  

“I am so happy that this early morning, I am receiving a wonderful gift moreover from my student. My weekend is well made. The story about your academic journey is so inspiring. I am happy that you did not sit back but rather looked for opportune ways of supporting yourself,” he said.

Prof. Nawangwe recognised Kayongo’s innovative ideas and acclaimed the quality of the products he makes. Through various research and innovation programs, Makerere University has supported students’ innovations with the aim of finding solutions to community challenges. “I am impressed that Kayongo is not going to look for jobs. He created his own job and he is ready to employ more people.  I really acknowledge his hard work,” he said.

The well branded gift that  Kayongo presented to the Vice Chancellor.

Born in 1994 in Kayunga District, Joseph Kayongo’s parents never got a chance to see their son grow into the hardworking and inspiring young man he is today. In an exclusive interview with Makerere University Public Relations Office, Kayongo revealed that he was not able to receive the basic needs any child could desire to have after his father died in 1995 and his mother followed shortly in 1996. He was left in the hands of his paternal grandmother who used to sell agricultural products to raise his school fees and cater for the household needs.  Through his grandmother’s efforts, he was able to finish senior six at YALE Secondary School Kayunga. Although he passed with good grades, he had little hope of joining university since he missed out on government sponsorship.

According to Kayongo, his dream was to join Makerere University and study Social Sciences with the aim of serving communities. The long vacation after senior six examinations gave him room to prepare himself for university.

“During my S.6 vacation, I engaged in agricultural activities. My grandmother had a big chunk of land where I planted maize. I was able to get a reasonable amount of money to help me start with registration at campus and to come to Kampala and start a life. I knew I could not sustain myself and raise school fees while digging in the village.  I knew that I needed a job in town. So I had to budget the money I got from selling my produce well,” he narrated.

The Vice Chancellor interacting with Kayongo.

Joining the shoe making business

Kayongo said that he picked interest in making craft shoes during his senior six vacation. He bought the idea from a neighbour in Kayunga who was doing the same business. “When I approached Mr. Sserwadda, he was willing to teach me how to make craft shoes. It is this idea that first crossed my mind when I thought of a business in Kampala that would sustain my academic needs. My focus was on high quality products, so I made a survey and realised that I could only get good leather and rubber materials from Jinja. That is how I started the business,” he said.

“I made shoes and vended them around campus. I decided to also penetrate markets around the university. Vending is not easy but I persisted. I just needed to plan my time well, well knowing that I needed both money and books. I had to balance the two because the main reason why I joined the business was to raise school fees. I could not see myself failing to excel in my exams or failing to raise the tuition. I had to ensure that I raised the tuition while finding time for my books,” he added.

With his degree in the bag, Kayongo has no plans of looking for a job.  He is focused on expanding his business and tapping into both local and international markets. He has been able to introduce his products to different shops and supermarkets where he has been assured of market because of their good quality. 

Kayongo ensures that he uses pure leather and rubber materials as that is what makes his products unique. Additionally,  he has been able to secure a good machine that guarantees his quality. He is looking at employing more people when the business expands. He has so far trained 7 peers who help him make his products.

How he meets the market demand? 

Kayongo said that, in the beginning the market was limited; he had to look for clients and only produced based on the market demand. However, today he even receives special orders from clients. “Shoe making is an easy task; all it needs is interest and purpose. I can make a pair of high quality shoes in just 3 hours. Secondly I have introduced other products such as wallets, belts, and hand bags to meet the demand. I hope for the best and my dream is to own a very big business of leather products with more employees. After this, I can safely say that I have impacted my community,” he concluded. 

Article by Nabatte Proscovia, Public Relations Office

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