Education is a powerful tool that can transform lives. It can open up new opportunities and empower people to reach their full potential. Nabirye's story is a perfect example of this. She was able to attend school and pursue her dream of becoming a medical professional thanks to a scholarship from our local partner, Project Yesu. See how education has changed everything for Nabirye:
I'm Nabirye! I’m 16 years old and I go to school in Eastern Uganda.
When I was young, my Dream was to become a pharmacist when I grew up. I admired people who worked in medicine and saved lives by treating or preventing diseases.
I wanted to research and find cures for all the diseases that have not yet been discovered by scientists. This has been my Dream and is still my Dream today.
Then, in 2010, my mom passed away when I was five years old. This was a big blow in my life. My mother was my strongest pillar of hope, and when she died, I knew that my life would never be the same. My Dreams were shattered. I saw no hope in life.
My grandmother took over my care, but there were many challenges for us; financially, she could not meet all my basic requirements in life or afford to pay my fees in good schools. I was taken to a more affordable and very poor government school, yet my grandmother still could not pay the school fees in time.
I was sent back home to collect my school fees many times, but we were never able to afford them.
Besides not having enough money for school fees, I had to walk more than a mile under the scorching-hot sun every day to and from school — all without shoes. I was late to school every day, and I’d arrive wet on rainy days. This hurt my ability to concentrate in class and hurt my overall performance in school. Day by day, I saw my Dream and ego dying slowly.
The worst came when my grandmother, who was my guardian, also passed away. I lost all hope of studying or achieving anything great in my life. I was all alone in the world.
After my grandmother’s death, my aunt, whom I had never met before but had heard about, took me into her home in the village of Musima. When I got to my aunt’s home, I learned that she cared for many biological and foster children. My aunt was struggling to make ends meet; she had no paying job and depended on peasantry.
Due to our limited funds, my aunt also opted to take me to a nearby, but very poor, government school, which was cheap. Yet, she still struggled to pay my school fees in time. The teachers were always absent, and they did not give us enough support. My performance remained weak, just like before.
I remember crying and praying to God to give me a chance to go to a good school, like the other kids whose parents could afford the more expensive tuition.
One day, my aunt heard about an organization in the village, Project Yesu, which was granting scholarships to vulnerable children so they could attend school. A little after, my aunt and I submitted my application. Luckily enough, just after two weeks, I received the greatest news of my life: I had a sponsor! My aunt and I were very happy; my prayers were finally answered, and I knew my future would be bright again. Since then, my life changed.
Soon after, I began studying at a very good boarding school. I did face some challenges getting used to my new school, though; for example, I was from a poor government school, so I was held back two grade levels. I felt bad that I was behind kids my age, but I followed my teacher’s advice because I wanted to be better and get the best grades.
Despite the obstacles, I was happy because I knew I was in the best place for me. Life at this elementary school was so amazing. I was in a boarding school where I was able to eat and sleep well. I had the most qualified teachers who gave me great support. This all helped me make the best grades yet. I was so excited, and my aunt was proud! The project coordinators and my teachers were very happy for me.
Now, as I write this, I'm in one of the best secondary schools in the country. I'm working hard and always at the top of my class.
With my sponsor’s timely and constant support through Project Yesu, my future is bright.
I also have great access to medical care through Project Yesu. They partner with a group of dentists and medical professionals who hold medical and dental camps every year. I had dental problems before, but thanks to my routine yearly checkups, I’m healthy now. Every time I'm sick, I'm able to go to the health center and Project Yesu always covers my medical bills.
As a girl growing up in a poor family and a disadvantaged community, I faced a number of challenges. But now, through its programs, Project Yesu has empowered me to be a healthier girl and a better leader. For example, they’ve given us disposable pads, underwear, and bras every school term. They’ve even taught the other girls and me how to make reusable sanitary pads. This has boosted my menstrual hygiene and self-esteem. I feel special, loved, and cared for. I have also received counseling and mentorship from our coordinators and social workers. The termly counseling and guidance sessions enable me to make informed decisions about my life and not be influenced by bad peers in the community and at school.
I have remained focused on my studies and I know I will achieve my Dreams.
Food has always been scarce in my family, especially during the COVID-19 lockdown and within some tough periods of inflation, like the one we’re currently in. Thankfully, Project Yesu always sees our community’s need for food and provides us with meals that save our families from hunger or starvation during tough times.
I'm so thankful to Project Yesu, the sponsors, supporters, and Dreamers for the support they are giving me and the other children in my village. Your gifts are never in vain and never taken for granted. May God richly reward you and bless you beyond measure.
Photo by our local partner, Project Yesu