Mechanic training brings a slice of life to Salama

Alpha Salama at the motorcycle repair shop in Rwamwanja settlement


Twenty five-year-old Alpha Salama is excited about his ongoing motorcycle mechanic training at a local repair shop in western Uganda's Rwamwanja settlement. He is hopeful this new venture will turn around his life.
 “I don’t see the war [back home] ending soon," Salama responds as he takes instructions from his trainer. I plan to settle and work here [in Uganda],” Salama notes with a wide smile.
Salama is among the over 2,000 South Sudanese and Congolese refugees targeted with vocational skills under the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) funded Community-led Opportunities for Recovery & Empowerment (CORE) project.
Implemented in Palorinya, Palabek, Adjumani(northern region) and Kyangwali and Rwamwanja (western region) settlements, the project aims to rebuild and sustain the livelihoods of the refugee youth and those with specific needs. Having escaped the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to Uganda in 2021, Salama and his only sister found a haven in the Rwamwanja settlement.
“My father remained in Congo,” Salama narrates that the mother is late, “She  died during the war.”The struggle to survive pushed him towards entrepreneurship to make ends meet, and the six months of training in repairing motorcycles extended him a golden opportunity.
“Back home, I had no single skill and did not go to school,” he notes. Due to the effects of the war, Salama says his parents could not afford to educate him.“I dug for people to get what to eat,”
For the first one and half months since December 2022, when he enrolled for the training, Salama explains in excitement that “I have learnt to replace the clutches for the motorcycles and adjust the chain.”
He is optimistic that the training will make him and other beneficiaries economic actors in their communities as they integrate into the labour market and interact with the host communities.