Youths reflect on tough 2021, hope for a better 2022

2021 was a challenging year for many people given the Covid-19 pandemic which upended our ways of life.

Yet if there was any group of people in Uganda who felt the wrath of the pandemic more than others, it was the youth. Many missed school for two years due to the lockdown. Others fell prey to teenage pregnancy while young people in business had to endure losses.

With just a few days into 2022, Youth Blitz spoke to five young people about their expectations of the new year. Here are their responses.

Muhammed Matovu, 24, journalist with Nile Post

I have had a difficult year. I am only lucky that unlike some young people I could write and make some little money. On a sad note, I lost a number of relatives and friends to Covid-19.

My hope is 2022 will be better. I want to grow in my career. I am also winding up my journalism degree and after that, I hope to get a more stable job. I also want government to relax some of the laws that make it harder for journalists to do their work.

Maureen Nakato, 22, hair stylist

I work in a beauty salon. 2021 was a tough year because we did not get many clients. Many people were broke because they were laid off work due to Covid-19. Personally, I lost a step sister in an accident. That was the low point for me. In 2022, I hope things will get better. Now that the president has opened up the economy, I think people will make some money and the salon business will thrive.

Tom Kasato, 27, boda boda rider in Namugongo

2021 was a bad year. Remember when they imposed the lockdown, they restricted our working hours because of Covid-19. It was tough for some of us who have families to look after. Thank God the year is over. In 2022, I hope to make more money and make other investments. I want to open up a retail shop to supplement my income from the boda boda business.

Michael Asaba, 20, student

I am a student at one of the universities. Covid-19 disrupted my studies and I had to keep home for two years. It was not easy because when someone is idle, they can engage in all kinds of bad things. For me, I managed to pass through the difficult period by relying on prayer. In 2022, I hope to go back to my studies. My hope is that the country is not locked down again due to Covid-19. In a few years I want to become a banker.

Rita Namukose, 24, businesswoman, Kyaliwajjala

I am a businesswoman who deals in children’s clothes. I have already written off 2021 because it was a bad year. Personally, I lost a lot of money because of the lockdown. Secondly, many people did not have money to buy basics like clothes so my business suffered. In 2022, I will capitalize my business. I hope to get a soft loan to do this. I am optimistic that if the economy is fully opened up, I will thrive and open up a second branch.

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