Kagera juggles IT and photography to make ends meet

The third born in the family of four, Ian Kagera grew up with a single mum whom he describes as everything he has in life.

Having finished his advanced level at Mackay College in Nateete, a Kampala suburb, Kagera failed to secure money to enable him join Makerere University where he had been offered a place to do Information Technology.

He later joined Buganda Royal Institute of Business and Technical Education in Mengo, another Kampala suburb where he attained a diploma in journalism.

Lady luck hits

While still studying at Buganda Royal Institute, lady luck found him when American child sponsorship and Christian humanitarian aid organization, Compassion International chose to give him a helping hand to enable him to pursue his dream course in Information Technology.

“Compassion Uganda gave me an opportunity to join the University under its leadership development program where all my tuition, meals, medical, accommodation and upkeep were taken care of. I joined Nkumba University in 2011,” he says smiling ear to ear.

“Here I had to do my diploma in journalism at Buganda Royal in the evening while I study Bachelor’s in Information Technology during daytime at Nkumba.”

Love for computers

Kagera says his was love at first sight for computers when he joined his senior one, in 2004 and he has never looked back.

“I remember us running to the computer laboratory so as to be the first to enter and secure a seat. I loved computers so much that I had to pursue a course in this line and thank God I got a job still in line of computers,” Kagera says.

He says it hit him badly when he failed to secure funds for tuition to do Information Technology at Makerere University, prompting him to do journalism at Buganda Royal Institute but he is thankful to God that in Compassion Uganda came his savior.

He currently works as the senior Information Technology officer for Raising the Village, an NGO that helps rural communities in Uganda to develop initiatives that pave the pathway out of ultra-poverty towards economic self-sufficiency.

“I am the team leader of this unit and oversee all the entire IT infrastructure of the organization. I manage cyber security, data privacy and protection and many others,” he says proudly of his job.

Into photography

Kagera says his love for photography started while still in his senior six at Mackay College Nateete.

“During school events I could hold the school camera and the love for it begun. It kept on growing and later when I went for my diploma in journalism, I learnt more photography skills and took it more as a hobby and business,” he notes.

He says while at campus, whereas Compassion paid for almost everything, he needed to have some money in his pockets but also to enable him to move from Nkumba where he studied at university, to Mengo’s Buganda Royal Institute where he was doing journalism.

Having thought out of the box, he started doing photography.

“I resorted to do photography to earn transport and some other support for me at the Institute. I also got motivation from my teacher in O-level at Mackay, the  late Kigula Martin who while in school had encouraged me to do photography.”

First client

He says his first camera, a Canon, was purchased by his mum at shs150, 000 but says it later broke but never the less, he pushed on.

“My first client was some school in Nalukolongo owned by one of the parents of my old girls. They had a trip to Didi’s world and hired me to take photos. Unfortunately while viewing the photos. I accidentally deleted most of them and managed to secure like 50 out of the 300 pictures I had taken,” Kagera says of his beginning.

“They however paid me Shs 30,000 for that trip and I used not more than Shs 6000 to print the photos and I remained with a profit of shs 24,000.”

He says this opened his eyes to the lucrative photography world that he says he has pushed on with to date.

“Currently I do more of wedding and introduction photography because clients for such functions don’t put me under pressure.”

He says he met his wife at a birthday party and since then, he chose never to do “those small party photography.”


Kagera says he is proud of what he has achieved in both Information Technology and photography.

“I am proud to be juggling photography and IT. I am a full time IT staff Monday to Friday and on weekends, I do photography. I have a team I employ to support me with photography so even if I get a gig in the week, my team is ready to execute,” Kagera says.

Married to Betty Kagera, he says they have been blessed with two kids including Baily Kagera and Hailey Kagera.

“I am proud that photography and IT have enabled me fend for my family but also achieve a lot. My advice to fellow youths is never to despise jobs but to also to allow start small and grow organically. Above all, believe in God.”

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