Zadock Amanyisa

Kanyesigye Monica, 33 a resident of Mbarara Municpality, is a mother and teacher by profession with first and second degrees in Education. Her first Degree is Bachelor of Arts with Education, Art double main whereas her second one is a Master of Education, Planning and Administration. She finished them in 2010 and 2014 respectively at Uganda Christian University, Mukono.

After her first degree in 2010, Kanyesigye became a secondary school class room teacher for two years before she enrolled for her second degree, which she undertook and thereafter taught at University level as head of department and lecturer, a job she dropped in May 2019 to follow her passion of working with the youth to shape their destiny. She currently works with Educate Uganda as programs officer, a journey she says is well traveled.

Beginning

After getting her first Degree, Kanyesigye had passion for teaching which took her direct to class as a class room teacher having been inspired by her parents to teach. She taught for two years at Seeta Secondary School, Mukono, where she gained experience and went for second degree

“I learnt a lot and I was challenged to go for the second degree to be able to compete favorably since I was working in a competitive space. I wanted to learn more and develop my career. In a span of two years, I saw opportunities of becoming a Director of Studies and Deputy Head teacher, but I couldn’t exploit them because I had not had enough. The challenges I faced during that time made me go for further studies and get qualifications in planning and administration,” Kanyesigye recalls

Shaping young people’s destiny

Kanyesigye working on her art crafts, which she sells and earns a living

After her second degree, Kanyesigye felt more challenged to practice what she had acquired from the post graduate studies. She applied in a higher institution of learning, Ankole Western University, where she worked as a lecturer. She wanted to teach in higher institutions so as to participate in shaping the destiny of students. In other words, she found that students would just go to university pass, and leave, and later have many challenges in life, which needed to be solved when they are still studying.

“I wanted to have an experience of teaching in a higher institution of learning. It was not that easy having changed from teaching young people to adults. That was 2015. I was given one course unit which was a trial, but I enjoyed it, having had the passion for youths. At some time I had to switch to counseling my students because I wanted to show them what real life was apart from getting marks at the end of the semester” she says

Having been to university before, Kanyesigye felt students were missing a lot in the line guidance and counseling.

She taught up to May 2019 when she joined Educate Uganda, a non-governmental organization that believes youth in Uganda are the solution to many of the issues facing communities. At Educate Uganda, Kanyesigye works as programs officer, and there, she gets more time with young people in their youthful stages and inspire them.

She imparts soft and hard life long skills into young people so that they can even survive after leaving school, equips them with leadership and entrepreneurship skills of the 21st Century through school business clubs formed in schools with the knowledge of the administrators of these schools.

“By doing this, I feel I am realizing my dream because that’s my passion. This is something that I had missed a point in life. I am benefiting in a way that I reach out to many people. Compared to when I was teaching in university, this is more impactful.” she reveals

Student leaders training in one of the schools where Kanyesigye conducts trainings

Through Educate Uganda, Kanyesigye has in a short period of time, been able to help schools and students reach their potential despite the set up.

To her, the journey is so far so good because what she is in is full of adventures, teaching her life lessons, challenges and how to move past them, all learnt from the interactions with people from various ends of life. The world is open for her and this to her is another platform available for her to display the skills acquired.

Side income generation

Kanyesigye runs a full time job, but she gets free time which is a space for her to venture into hands on businesses that at the end put something in her wallet on top of her monthly salary.

She uses her art and design skills to make art pieces and crafts like table mats, carpets, jewelry, crotchet work, etc, which once sold bring some money. She runs a make-up and beauty for university students and those preparing for parties.

She has put up a beauty and make up lounge, which at the end of the month, altogether sees her pool 2-3million Uganda shillings, which helps her to grow and develop.

Her business being a social entrepreneurship oriented, Kanyesigye trains youths who are in their vacations so that they can make a living when they are in their higher institutions and even when they have graduated. Someone doesn’t have to look for a job when she or he already has skills. 

“Sometimes, these students are seen loitering and engaging in prostitution around towns just because they are looking for money, something they wouldn’t do if they had skills in their hands and they are doing something.” She challenges

Kanyesigye engaging university students in craft work.

 Celebrating the Achievements

Kanyesigye has registered some fulfillment in her journey. She has been able to make an impact among the youth and her community through sharing the talents in her hands on top of getting money.

She has expended her social interaction base through the rounds she makes in different schools and the clients that come to her business, helping her to make more connections through which goodness will surely come her way.

“This has helped me in sustaining my business. The way you interact with your customers and communities and handle them will surely determine your future.” She passionately maintains

With her savings, Kanyesigye is able to take care of parents, children to good schools and paying school fees is not an issue to her. She has also bought a piece of land where she plans to put up a building that will host her business and family.

Lessons learnt

Life is a journey that exposes one to different challenges and experiences, which must be learnt and adjust to. Challenges and experiences help to shape you into someone successful depending on how you face and handle them.

If you have passion, live to it and work towards it. Exploring your passion takes you to different places where you meet people, work and move on.

Kanyesigye conducting a training session.

Without being guided, one will lose track, mess up and do things out of will because of lacking guidance.

Advice

Youths should always seek to be guided to avoid messing up when it is actually not their wish to mess up. They tend to keep ignorant because they think what they are doing is right.

There is need for the youth to be sensitized and be exposed to what can help them reach their potential. They need to be shown the other side of life so that they can be brought back on the right way. Young people must know that there is a life besides sugar daddies and mummies.

Parents should take a center stage in upbringing their children. Knowing what suits your child is very important because life keeps changing and neglecting your child will have far reaching negative effects.

Challenges

Kanyesigye has in her efforts to save the young generation met challenges of clients who develop bias and bad attitude towards what she is doing. They at times take her to be a masquerader, having seen such kind of people come to them in the name of providing services.

“Some different organizations come to them and promise heaven on earth and thereafter disappear, may be after getting some money. This makes it tricky for us to work because clients think we are like the ones they have met before,” She expresses

She has overcomes this challenge by taking time to sensitize clients on what she brings to them and this has seen her through, though some people take long to understand her cause.

Future plans

Kanyesigye plans putting in place a school of art and design where she will have a component of beauty and cosmetology if resources allow. This will serve as a vocational school for those who wish to have knowledge and skills for survival. This she says will allow people especially the youth to exploit their talents.

She has already been admitted at University of Nairobi, where she intends to have her PhD in Education.