Yambio Youth Entrepreneur Connects Villages To The World

Many South Sudanese today have embarked on internet usage, making it a new potential source of livelihood for those who provide the service of setting up internet on phones.

Yambio Youth Entrepreneur Connects Villages To The World
Connecting people- entrepreneur Wandu Steven (L) with some of his customers as he set internet onto their cellphones [photo Joseph Nashion]

Joseph Nashion

YAMBIO, 21 August 2014, [Gurtong] - 27 year-old Wandu Stephen is one among those who are earning a living by being creative. He has opened a place called Holy Purple Internet Centre, in the heart of Yambio town, where he is connecting internet on peoples’ phones.

Wandu says those seeking this service are mainly the youth, many of them working people. These days, says the entrepreneur, nobody wants to walk to the internet café if all they want is  to receive their emails, consult a search engine,  or access sports and news updates on their phone.

Wandu, who in addition to being a local musician is also full of creative ideas, says his first business was a sports betting center in Yambio town where people came to put  bets on the football matches to be played in a day, with the winners walking away with the prize at the final hour of the match.

However, he said, the business was not moving on so well so he thought of another business, that of transferring movies and songs into peoples’ phones. This, he says, provided a fair income compared to the first business.

He says that now, at the newly-opened Holy Purple Internet Centre, he can get about 15 to 20 customers in a day, who provide him with an income of roughly 75ssp to 200ssp per day. Wandu explains that the charge for internet setting depends on the type of cellphone itself, costing 35 SSP for high end smartphones like the Samsung S3 and iPhone 5 and as little as 15 SSP for more basic models.

Wandu told Gurtong that he has faced and overcome challenges. For instance, in the previous location from which he operated, he found that many customers, particularly those with a high profile, didn’t come because he was operating under an umbrella.

Learning from that experience, he has now moved to a venue which is accessible and has parking. Taking into account the song business also, the majority of the ciustomers come from the villages; it has helped the business to provide enough space for them to sit and relax.
 
Wandu holds a diploma in Public Relations. He says that upon graduation, he tried looking for a job but that until now things have not worked for him. This is the factor which pushed him into entrepreneurship: “I couldn’t wait until I get a job but I had to start putting my mind together so that I can take care of myself and my family,” he noted.

Wandu is well known for his gospel music in the state, he says he had to try all sorts of things in life to earn him a living. “I love music and I have been singing gospel songs… between 2004 and 2007. I left and sang some secular music… I went back to sing the gospel in 2013 because I love church songs very much and this is a call from God to serve,” he added

He urged his fellow youth, especially those who have graduated from school, not to wait and think the government is going to offer a free job for them. Instead, he urged, they should create something for themselves where they could even create employment for others.

“I want to tell you now that I have four boys  I am  working with and two are working in the first table which was for the sports betting so it’s simple to pay them off. Each of them has a day [ie a day’s earnings] in a week and the rest of the days for me,” he disclosed

“Another challenge I am facing is the constant power cuts… when it goes off I am left in the dark, making the business dull,” he said “This business is not helping me alone, but it is helping many people to connect and access internet on their mobile phone,” He said.

“We get customers from Ezo, Mundri, Maridi and Tambura where internet access is scarce, hence this helps the rural community to access news on current affairs, and chat with their dear ones on social media like Facebook and Whatsapp. Study is also made easier as students can do research on their mobile phones”, He added.

“South Sudan is a young country and our motto at Holy Purple Internet Centre is to connect the rural community to the world,” he concluded.

 

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