By Umar Nsubuga
Sharon Namigadde is 35 years old. She plaits hair in Kampala. After completing her O’levels, she did not have the resources to continue with education. As a result she turned to salon business, which has paid handsomely.
“As a teenager I was facing many challenges and I could not turn to my parents because they were not well off,” she says.
Namigadde thus started learning how to plait hair with her friend.
“When I learnt how to plait hair, my friend advised me to set up a salon,” she narrates.
“When my savings reached sh1.4m, I started looking for a place to set up the salon.”
I got a single room on JBK building in Kampala. Paying rent at the start was a challenge because the landlord wanted three months up front. According to the agreement, I had to pay sh400,000 per month.
Namigadde says she raised the money she needed through friends.
“After just a few months of work, my friend advised me to save money to buy a plot of land. It was another hurdle,” she recalls.
Raising money for the plot
Namigadde says she visited homes of some of her friends and she was inspired. “Some of them were younger than I was, but the developments they had made were impressive.”
Namigadde added: “I developed the desire to work hard so that I could settle in my own home at an early age. After saving sh2.5m, my friend took me to Kibiri on Busabala Road in Makindye, where I bought a plot of land,” she says.
Namigadde’s friends advised her to get someone to draw her a plan and also look for a good builder.
I first bought 8,000 bricks, each at sh110, two truckloads of sand, a truckload of stones and 50 bags of sand. Each bag of cement cost sh24,000.
I hired two builders, who came along with three porters. I paid each builder sh20,000 per day while porters earned sh5,000 per day.
I found it cheaper to pay them on the days they worked than paying on contract basis.
The ring beam consumed a lot of cement and iron bars. But I was determined to build something of quality.
Supervision was a challenge because I was working and it became difficult to supervise the workers. One of the builders was a friend, so he updated me on everything that happened.
Water was a big challenge. I spent a lot of money on buying water. Perhaps, the most challenging thing was balancing between work and supervising the construction.
I suspected that on some days, the builders would steal cement, but I could not help it because I could not stay away from the salon, which provided the money that was running the construction project.
Size of the house
It is a two-bedroom self-contained house. It has a kitchen, children’s room and a bathroom.
The most complicated part in construction is always the roof. The roofing cannot be done in phases because that makes it expensive. The advantage with it is after the roofing, one can take a break as you look for more resources.
I gave up on many luxuries, like going out with friends, buying expensive clothes and shoes.
Advice to women
Many women wait for their husbands to provide everything they need. Save and buy a plot of land, however small it may be. It will give you great satisfaction. If I had not taken my friend’s advice, I would not own a house and rentals.
Although some things did not go as I had planned, it was a learning experience. I see the house as miracle because I did not have much money, but I shoved off challenges, in order to own a house.
Now, I own an electronics shop and a set of houses for rent. Although some of the houses have not been completed, I am confident all that will come to pass.
I plan to complete all my rentals, to turn my electronics shop into a wholesale shop and buy a car.