Growing up, Oparel creator Etii Opito Joseph was never the “cool” kid. He didn’t play sports and barely had any friends so he didn’t talk much either.

The shy and shy young man also did not have ideal grades by his teacher’s standards.

“All of this made people stare at me,” he says in a tone of voice that is no doubt displeased.

However, young Opito didn’t let the perceptions of his peers bring him down. Rather, he debunked the low expectations of the public to become a creative with a remarkable sense of fashion.

“These circumstances led me to dress smarter in order to regain a sense of self-worth. That’s how I was drawn to the fashion world,” he said.

A native of Lira, Opito, 20, now boasts of a budding career in fashion with the aim of breaking into the global market as a fashion icon.

To achieve his goal, Opito jumped at the chance to apply for the MTN Pulse and Arapapa by Santa ANZO mentorship program last year, after glancing at a call for applications on the WhatsApp status of one of his friends.

“I applied for the program because I believe in the power of my work. I needed a platform to showcase my work and inspire the world and the mentorship program was a great place to start,” he says.

Opito (2R) and Santa Anzo (3R) during the award ceremony. Extreme Right is Hellen Kirungi, the head of MTN Pulse

MTN Pulse Arapapa Mentorship Program

Opito is one of the mentees who participated in the three-month mentorship program organized by MTN Pulse and fashion mogul Santa Anzo d’Arapapa by Santa ANZO. MTN Pulse is an MTN Uganda product tailored for young people. It hosts a range of products and services designed to perfectly meet the needs of young people.

During the mentorship, the mentees received extensive training on different aspects of the fashion industry, including entrepreneurship such as business marketing, authenticity, marketing in the fashion industry , among others.

According to the researcher who is currently undertaking a Bachelor of Commerce degree online and majoring in Strategic Marketing at Monash University in Malaysia, the MTN Pulse4Fashion Arapapa mentorship program has changed his life.

“In particular, I was touched by Santa Anzo’s story of having to stay positive about his dream even when Idi Amin’s hard times took away the luxury of dressing classy and participating in the fashion. It didn’t stop her from pushing for what she believed in and now we have Arapapa,” he recounts.

Valuable Life Skills Course

The Oparel creator also said the valuable life skills course was the highlight of his journey through the mentorship program, as it exemplified how a creative person must persevere and stay afloat in the fashion industry.

His unique and daring sense of style helped the youngster become the first runner-up in the MTN Pulse Arapapa mentorship program, winning a cash prize of Shs 1.5 million.

Opito (creator of Oparel), who worked in the fashion industry for two years, mostly as a blogger and part-time stylist, hopes to launch her brand after graduation.

Applauding MTN Pulse and Arapapa for encouraging him to appreciate his talent and use it for the benefit of the community, Opito said the mentorship intensified his journey towards launching his own brand.