Jonas Byaruanga: How my life of a jobless young man was changed by MONUSCO
Ten months earlier, some 20 young men from Bunia, Ituri, underwent a training in cell phone repair given by MONUSCO peacekeepers from Bangladesh. The trainees included Jonas Byaruanga Dhedonga, over 27 who is now running two cell phone repair shops. Very fruitful encounter with this ambitious young man who, thanks to MONUSCO, seized the opportunity to change his life.
It was at his second workshop that he arranged the meeting with us that day, not far from Saïo market, in the heart of Simbiliabo district, Municipality of Shari. This father of two children is very proud of the progress made since December 2019, when he received his certificate from the hands of the Northern Sector Commander of MONUSCO Force in Ituri upon achieving his training in cellular devices’ repair.
“After my studies I found myself unemployed like many young people here; I started taking pictures, but it was hardly paying off. We were living a poor life. I heard about the trainings organized by MONUSCO, and applied for; I was selected for the one in the cell phone repair. With this training, we are now able to earn some money, which helps us to organize our breakfasts every morning," he said.
The revenue is not that much yet, but he admits he is no longer hardly hit by the crisis as it used to be in the past, though the newly set up business is facing two major challenges: lack of energy (electricity supply in Bunia is not so regular, I would even say non-existent) and lack of materials and equipment, not to mention the rent to pay. In spite of all that, Jonas Byaruanga Dhedonga says he now has an income, which allows him to make both ends meet and to cater for the needs of his small family.
Without the training, we would not be able to make it, we would still be starving, but the training has lifted us from the trouble we were in ".
“It's not every day that people bring their phones to fix. After paying the rental and utilities, I may come up with $ 40 or even $ 50 balance a month, sometimes more; it varies from one month to another. We wholeheartedly thank MONUSCO through the Bangladeshi contingent, who taught us this profession. Without the training, we would not be able to make it, we would still be starving, but the training has lifted us from the trouble we were in ".
Jonas Byaruanga Dhedonga has huge ambitions, but needs support. He would like to expand his small business. He has already opened a second telephone repair shop in the city-center of Bunia. For him, it is important to keep oneself busy in life, because idleness would lead some young people to heed the calls of armed groups and engage in criminal activities.
"As you are aware, it is due to lack of jobs and occupational activities that young people engage in harmful activities and join armed groups. That is why we are pleading with partners to support us. We would not like to restrict ourselves to repairing cell phones, but also to train other young people who have no prospect for their future so that they may follow suit, and avoid joining armed groups. This training was very useful for us, to better explain the relevance of your action, it is like you earn a little and someone comes in and add a few more".
His final word was a double appeal to young people and to the authorities: you should dare!, Do invest in young people: "To the unemployed young people who wander about, all day long, we ask them to follow suit, by going under such trainings to offer themselves lifesaving opportunities which will lift them out of the idleness and make their lives useful to the society. We are calling upon the authorities to also initiate such trainings for young people”. Suffice they heed this call!
MONUSCO's Bangladeshi contingent regularly organizes training courses for unemployed youth in Bunia to build various professional capacities to facilitate their integration into the society.
In 2019, 263 young people from Ituri (including 43 women) benefited from several vocational training courses organized by MONUSCO, in particular in basic IT, plumbing, building electricity, maintenance of air conditioners and refrigerators, cell phone repair, DC battery charging...