Everyone in life has a dream. But putting it in action and seeing it come to pass, is one thing. In a sense, it shows one’s real beliefs- especially where one begins life with barely nothing but just an idea, and then goes out to put that dream in action.
The successful entrepreneur Paul Omara who lost his father at 5, and was raised by a single mom, has gone on to prove that when we trust God, all things are possible. His life is a demonstration of living faith in Christ Jesus.  After taking early retirement in November, 2014 from Stanbic Bank as an Executive, Paul could have settled down and lived off his investments. However, he had a dream of pursuing agricultural transformation in the Greater North Uganda.

Paul leading his team to deliver Virgin Gold to supermarkets

To do this would mean also putting his faith in practice. He now runs a cooking oil factory whose products grace supermarkets like Tusky’s, a preserve normally for foreign mostly Asian owned companies. How has he been able? Shakers & Movers magazine caught up with Paul and he had such an inspiring story to share of his amazing journey.

Growing up under war

Paul grew up under difficult circumstances. His peasant mother hardly spoke English; after the death of his father who was killed by President Idi Amin’s solders he was raised by her, along with relatives. Paul went to Barjobi Primary School in Otuke district where he completed his Primary and then on to Adwari Secondary School.

Life was difficult and Paul studied under really challenging times. At that time war and cattle rustling were rife in this part of the country. The neighboring tribe of the Karamajong, who believe all cattle belong to them, were armed with AK47s and would often terrorize his homestead, picking up not just cattle, but spilling blood along the way. And then there were also soldiers of Uganda National Liberators Army (UNLA) who, while pretending to be guards, would cause havoc at his school. Occasionally students would flee for their lives.

In 1985 Uganda saw a violent change of government with the overthrow of the government of Obote 11 and soon after of Tito Okello. Fleeing gun totting soldiers went up to the school forcing students and teachers to scatter.  Paul ended up squatting and sitting his O’level exams at Lango College in nearby Lira town. “We would cook our own meals, “he mused, “have lunch at midday and then cook again supper in the evening. This was a tough experience.”

Paul was the best in his school at O’level and was admitted at Dr. Obote College, Boro Boro for his A’level in 1987. During his stay at Dr. Obote College there was a lot of bullying of new students. He nonetheless refused to be part of that having committed his life to Jesus as a personal savior (John 3:16).  He worked hard at his studies, passing highly to go and major in Economics and Social Administration at Makerere University.  He would later go on to attain a Master’s of Business degree from Cardiff University in Wales, UK.

Turning Point

Paul Launching Virgin Gold Cooking Oil
Paul Launching Virgin Gold Cooking Oil

It was at Dr. Obote College that Paul first had a personal encounter with Jesus. However, he lost his faith along the way as he got distracted with his studies. In 1992, though, when he was in his 2nd year at Makerere University, where he was a resident of the famously noisy Northcourte Hall, one day, a guest walked in his room and shared the Gospel. This was the beginning of a revival of his faith in Christ. Soon he became an active member of the Christian Union where he was mentored by Rev. Ben Mugarura, who was a Chaplain at St Francis chapel. He also found a church, then Kampala Pentecostal Church (KPC) and now Watoto Church where Pastors Gary Skinner, Chris Komagum, and others, saw his Christian faith grow. “The teaching at KPC was so good,” he shared. “These Pastors preached about sin, repentance, salvation, holiness, forgiveness and redemption in Christ!”

It was here that Paul also met his future wife. “I first met Dr. Leticia Namale during Discipleship class,” he shared. “She was a cell leader and we regularly met for fellowship. We dated for 3 years and got married in 2012. I must also add that during that time we were true to each other, and I believe it is this foundation that has been the basis of our strong family life.”

A successful Professional Life.

After university Paul started a career as a banker with Bank of Baroda. Following return from his studies in Europe, he joined Stanbic Bank where he progressed through the ranks. He was appointed Head of Sales for Stanbic Africa in 2005 stationed in South Africa, where he oversaw 16 countries develop and execute sales strategies. Later he moved to Malawi where he was Director of Retail Banking and then Tanzania in the same position, for two years. Back to Uganda he was appointed head of sales and distribution for all Stanbic branches.

Paul was away from Uganda for so many years and in retrospect he shares it was not the best time for his family. “Being away from home for long periods can affect the bondage between husband and wife,” he shares. “The couple should make as much effort to visit and stay in touch.”

After retiring from active employment, he now sits on Boards of major institutions, including Housing Finance Bank.

A Business with a Social Purpose!

Paul at a sun flower farm inspecting quality
Paul at a sun flower farm inspecting quality

Today as an entrepreneur Paul runs a thriving cooking oil factory whose brand is fast becoming a household name- Virgin Gold. To ensure a constant flow of supply he has built 48 cooperatives in the North and Eastern Uganda with over 50,000 members. Virgin Gold can be found now at various supermarkets like Game, Quality, Capital shoppers, etc. Their incomes have all grown as a result of being assured of a market for their hard work. To all this success he attributes it to his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ!