Meet Simon Owor, a former child soldier from the northern part of Uganda in Pader District, who was abducted by the Lord Resistance Army (LRA). One night, he lost an eardrum during an exchange of gun fire with the Ugandan Army (UPDF) in South Sudan. Today, Simon is an Electrician and Engineer and owns a repair and electrical appliances shop in Wakiso, Uganda.
He opened the business with a grant from the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI). Through the Western Union Foundation and WPDI collaboration, Simon received another small grant that has helped him to expand his business and begin providing vocational training to street youth and orphans. He is setting up a network of young technicians trained in Information and Communications Technology, electrical installation and electronic repair to reduce unemployment and idleness.
Through this training, Simon is able to share his knowledge and skills so that others have the same opportunity for a better future.
“I have gained hope about my future. The Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative has changed my life,” Simon said. “The educational trainings I have received in computers and technology, life skills, conflict resolution and others taught me hard work, honesty and how to socialize. Now, I am proud to be a good leader and role model in my community.”
Simon learned about WPDI as a student at Hope North School in Uganda, where he was chosen to join WPDI’s Youth Peacemakers program to work within his community in Wakiso, towards conflict resolution and entrepreneurism.
Employment opportunities are critical to ensure that young women and men who have been displaced by conflict can begin rebuilding their lives. Young refugees and internally displaced persons need opportunities that will give them hope. Western Union and the Western Union Foundation believe that both the private sector and individuals have an important role to play in this, along with the government and NGO sector.
In 2016, Western Union and the Western Union Foundation made a commitment to enable refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) to participate more directly in the global economy through education, employment and enablement. The collaboration project supports the building of a new WPDI learning center in Kiryandongo, Uganda and aims to help 10,000 displaced women and men to rebuild their lives, just as it helped Simon.
Above Photo: Simon trains other youth in his electronic repair shop in Wakiso, Uganda.
Above Photo: Simon participates in WPDI training at a youth peacemaker workshop.
The Western Union Foundation is a separate §501(c)(3) recognized United States non-profit corporation supported by the Western Union Company, its employees, Agents, and business partners working to support education and disaster relief efforts as pathways toward a better future.