A surge in unemployment, mental health issues, academic stress among others have always had a devastating effect on the lives of the young people in Uganda.
Despite the challenges, many young people have met the challenges and found their purpose through different initiatives, according to Clare Akinyi Muga, a young writer and psychologist.
In an interview with The Nile Post, Muga who has helped over 1000 young people through writing believes that despite the prevailing hard times characterized by hopelessness, these people can be assisted in one way or the other.
Who is Clare?
My name is Clare Akinyi Muga. Clare is a leader, psychologist, and a writer. I am a Ugandan. My mum is a Langi unfortunately she passed on some years back. My dad is Sabiny from Kapchorwa. He is still alive; he was a teacher. I have four siblings. I am married and I have a daughter. I went to Trinity College Nabbingo for my O level and Iganga SS for A level. I did Bachelors of Community Psychology at Makerere University.
Who inspired you into writing books?
There is one author who inspired me and that is Shakespeare. This is because his writing has lived on beyond himself. The man died years ago but we use his books to determine what good writing is, can you imagine? I want to be someone who can live beyond generations, someone who can be looked at. I have always loved writing. I started writing poems when I was in S.1. As time keeps going you keep getting better. I started publishing books in 2019.
In your view, are we still in the era where people say if you want to hide something from someone, put it in the book?
(Yes) but it is not because we don’t read, it is because the books that we read don’t give us an experience. They just give us information and information can easily be forgotten. Because these books are not giving us something real, we are not able to pick much. People who are writing need to stop sharing information and share an experience, something that someone can relate with. I am giving experience in my books because that is what changes the lives of people, not the words.
How are you unlocking the potential of young people?
I run a leadership academy. We equip young people with leadership skills. Our role is to make sure that these young people are equipped to be who they want to be. There are so many soft skills that someone needs. You know back in the days a child was a child of the community but now a child is a child of two parents. We are locked up in gated communities. People don’t have social skills, there are so many skills that people don’t have. With the distractions that come with social media, so many young people are inactive. So, we are trying to come out with this leadership training to help young people discover their purpose.
Tell us about this book the “Crowns & Shadows”
It is really about restoration and hope. Everyone has a dream.You have a dream and as we go on in life, we face so many challenges. Those challenges end up becoming a shadow of what we are supposed to become. This book relates to the challenges that you are facing. It speaks to that part of you that still has hope so that you are able to rise up. It helps you to leave those challenges you are facing. You have a crown yourself. There is this greatness that you have.
How do you come up with all these ideas that you write about?
The spirit of God. The Lord gives me these ideas like you are sleeping and you feel inspired and feel a burning desire to write something and then you write. As you keep writing the ideas keep coming and (at the end you come up with) a book.
How are you going to market this book?
Through social media but also, we shall be using the books stores all over the country. Since we are reaching out to young people, we shall also be using schools. As soon as schools open in January we are going to be reaching out to schools. For me it is not about the monetary value but can a young person read this book and get inspired? That is all I want.
Where do you want to see yourself in the next five years to come as a writer?
I see myself impacting the lives of young people through my writing, through the counseling that I am doing as a psychologist but also through my leadership academy. I will also write more books. I think over the last three years we have reached over 1500. There are quite a number of people we have trained. We usually keep their hope and over the years the impact keeps on increasing.
Through these initiatives, are you making some money?
I don’t look at whether I am striving in terms of money. I have actually never thought about it. Even from this book (Crowns & Shadows), I am not thinking of how much we are going to make. I am looking at that one person who is reading this book. I have actually never thought about the monetary part of it.
Your last message to the young people.
I would like to remind the youth that the future of this country is in their hands. They should rise up and step out and pursue their dreams. There is so much more that we can do.