#StickYourNeckOut

Ojok Simons – Uganda

CEO and Co-founder of HIVE Uganda,   inspirational   talent and motivational speaker.

Ojok’s life has been eventful from the very beginning. Growing up in Gulu, northern Uganda, his life was heavily affected by the presence of the Lord Resistance Army that occupied the northern part of the country in the 90’s and 2000’s. By the age of nine years he was hit on the head with a rifle by one of the soldiers and because it was impossible to get medical attention, the internal injuries he suffered from resulted in a visual impairment. Nonetheless, it did not stop him  from  attending  school and investing into his education.  

Ojok Simon – kanthari 2012

After  many school years in primary education in Gulu town and in Kampala in a specialised school for blind people and visually impaired people, he joined the Makerere  University  in  Kampala  in 2004. He enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program  in  development studies  and  successfully graduated  three years later as the first visually impaired person in Gulu. During his time in University he founded the organisation MUVISA which provided scholastic material for visually impaired people and supported their well being. Furthermore,  he started  to hold motivational  speeches in  different parts of the country motivate other disabled people to  start  a career, too. His key argument has always been that also the disabled are able. His speeches inspired five visually impaired people to enroll into University as well.

Since  his  graduation,  Ojok worked on a career in the social field. He began to work with the Gulu Disabled Persons Union (GDPU), supporting marginal- ized people and improving their living conditions by providing toilets that are suitable for special needs. In 2012, he was selected to join the kanthari program in In- dia. The kanthari institution pro- vides educational courses in social entrepreneurship and empowers people from all over the world to begin their own social businesses

to promote social change. After a twelve month training at kantheri in Kerala, Ojok returned  to  Uganda  and  started his own organisation in Gulu HIVE Uganda. A beekeeping business that supports the self-employment of blind people living in rural  areas in northern  Uganda. Ojok’s mission is to enhance livelihood and independence of people with disabilities in East Africa through  training on bee keeping and marketing of honey products. The organisation thrives, provides employment and self-employment, has friends and supporters from all over the world and builds stronger, inclusive communities in rural areas in northern Uganda. By creating a positive impact on many people’s lives, Ojok became a role model in the northern Ugandan communities. In 2017 HIVE Uganda was one of the winner of Holman Prize that promote blind project under the Lighthouse for the Blind and Partially Sighted.