Building up a business

Scovia Asara

Scovia took part in our inclusive livelihoods project in Uganda. She tells us about setting up her successful tailoring business.

Scovia Asara from Uganda at her weaving machine

Scovia is 28 years old. She lives with her husband in the Adjumani district, Northern Uganda. 

Scovia has a visual impairment. Her blurred sight and eye irritation made studying difficult when she was younger. Other students also bullied her because of her disability. At age 13, she dropped out of her school, Meliyaderi Primary School, after her Primary Seven final exam. 

After leaving school, Scovia decided to try and find work. However, myths and misconceptions around disability in her community meant getting a job was a challenge. “Everyone did not want to employ me. They thought I was cursed,” explained Scovia. A lack of understanding meant that disability had been dehumanised in the past, and there was still a lot of stigma.

How Scovia became involved with Leonard Cheshire

In 2018, Scovia listened to Aulogo FM and heard about Leonard Cheshire’s livelihoods project for young women with disabilities, taking place in the Adjumani District. She applied and was accepted onto the programme. 

The project, delivered in partnership with Cheshire Services Uganda, aimed to build the confidence of young women with disabilities in the Adjumani district. Through skills training, the project supported women to gain essential skills that could increase their livelihoods opportunities and help them to gain an income. 

Through the project, Scovia embarked on weaving training. She received three months of training in weaving at Moyo Polytechnic in 2018. As well as the training, the project also provided Scovia with a start-up kit so she could start her own business after the project. 

As part of the kit, she received a tailoring machine, weaving machine, needles and packets of threads. Equipped with the skills and the essential items, Scovia started her own business: ‘Scovia Design Sweaters Enterprises’ in Ayilo.

Starting a thriving business

She began by operating her business from home for three months before renting space for her weaving shop.

Following hard work and determination, in 2020, Scovia earned a contract with Royal Nursery and Primary School in Dziapi sub-county to weave sweaters for their students. This was an outstanding achievement. 

As well as building up her business, Scovia has devoted her time to training other people in her community to weave sweaters for a monthly fee. She is now determined to establish a training school in her community.