By Alex Gahima
To study at the University, pursuing a course of your choice, away from the prying eyes of parents and siblings, is the stuff dreams are made of, especially if you come from a small district like Kisoro, some 618kms from the capital Kampala, where dreams of many have come true.
The list of universities and tertiary institutions has since grown leaps and bounds due to the Government stability in the region.
This means that the academically excellent and the dull, the financially rich and the poor as well as the resident and non- resident learners can all be accommodated.
Despite the positive strides in education, it is not unusual for so many eager bright minds to fail to proceed for higher learning due to financial constraints.
The following stories are of young men and women who made Kisoro very proud in the recently concluded Uganda Advance Certificate of Education (UACE). Their futures, now hang in the balance.
Porter at Construction Site nails 20 out of 20
Richard Nshimiyimana scored 20 points in a science combination of Physics, Chemistry, Math and ICT. His biggest wish now is to attend Kyambogo University to study Civil engineering.
At the time of conducting this interview, Nshimiyimana was working on a construction site. He is very humble and shy to meet with us.
He tells me, since the time the results were announced over the radio, residents from his village, even his fellow workers are so proud of him because he performed very well.
How it all started
Born to Geoffrey Kadoro and Ntawiha Fiadorah, both peasants, Nshimiyimana aged 19 is the fourth out of six children.
Their home located in Kalambi village, Gasovu parish, Nyarusiza Sub County is a home of humble background.
Ntawiha explains that Nshimiyimana always loved to study despite being too small in size. She notes that his siblings decided to drop out of school because the family had money problems.
“We simply couldn’t give up on supporting Nshimiyimana because he really loved to study and was willing to do anything to go to school,” Ntawiha explained.
Nshimiyimana, who completed his senior six from Kisoro Vision Secondary School with 20 points says his teachers at O’level while Kabindi Secondary school really prepared him for success.
“I honestly didn’t have much. I used to walk to school every day. I made sure I had to excel in class so that I could access some bursaries but it was not easy, Nshimiyimana recalls.
Nshimiyimana acknowledges the positive role played by his teachers and also says the head teacher then, the late Christopher Rukirande was instrumental in helping many students from poor families to study with minimal ease.
He says his move to Kisoro Vision did not come as a surprise to him because the school is well known for its stellar performance.
He admits that integration into the school community was particularly difficult for him because his peers had the basic requirements and so much more.
Nshimiyimana says one of his greatest role models is the district engineer James Karamira.
“At this rate, am not sure whether I will go to University because my parents cannot afford tuition and all the other expenses but I have to believe that all will be well, Nshimiyimana says.
Gertrude Star always two months late to arrive at School
Susan Katusabe scored 17 points with A, A, C in Kiswahili, CRE, History making her the best female student in the district.
Her performance returns the former glory of St. Gertrude Secondary School which had fallen off the academic grid of the district.
According to the School’s head teacher Sr. Victor Turyamuhaki, the school uses a holistic approach which includes academic and talent development, political awareness as well as Spiritual growth.
Sr. Turyamuhaki says their star, Susan Katusabe was a very brilliant but troubled girl.
After the passing of Katusabe father, a UPDF soldier, her life was turned upside down because she had to move from her home in Kabale to live with her grandparents in Rubuguri.
“The grandparents completely refused to pay her fees because they said the mother of Katusabe received compensation after the father’s death and was refusing to educate her own daughter, which is not true,” Sr. Turyamuhaki narrated
Sr. Turyamuhaki says Katusabe would always arrived two months into the term without even the basic needs but she would manage to excel.
“I decided to make the girl entertainment perfect because she was very sharp. I noticed that most times she was aloof, sad and wanted to be alone but I had to be close to her, Turyamuhaki explained
She notes that though the young girl performed very well, her future is not guaranteed because of poor background.
Sr. Turyamuhaki hints that Katusabe had not completed her school fees which is slightly more than 150,000 Ugandan shillings.
“Our star will not be able to get her results unless the entire balance has been cleared. People of God, lets us support these young brilliant minds because despite the odds stacked against them, they continue to shine bright, Sr. Turyamuhaki said.
Kabindi Star abandoned by Father, goes on to Shine
Robert Niringiyimana, who was doing History, Divinity, Geography, ICT managed to secure 12 points making him the second best student at Kabindi Senior Secondary School.
Niringiyimana says he is pleased with his results because it is not easy to get such points in a Government school.
He says his father, Rubibi Yeremia, a peasant and landlord disowned him at the age of 17 when he was in Senior three at St. Peters Vocational school in Kisoro Municipality.
“My father has three wives and my mother who is the second wife was suffering a lot so I had to leave home because I could not manage the situation, thankfully another family offered to help me”, Niringiyimana explains
Niringiyimana says he did not expect that his help would come from the next door neighbors who offered him a place to stay, clothes to wear and school fees for the two years at A ‘Level.
“I am so grateful to them because they have treated me like a human being and I truly believe they want the best for me. As I look forward to going to University, I know it will be very difficult for them to support me, so I need help”, Niringiyimana said
A family member Damas Fashaho says it is the right thing to do. He notes that Niringiyimana is a trustworthy and dependable young man whose dreams of going to university should not be stolen from him.
“We call upon people to show the love of Christ and help these young people achieve their dreams”, Fashaho said
We all have reached somewhere in life because of a helping hand, therefore if you are touched by this story, please visit Voice of Muhabura radio in Kamonyi or contact us on email@example.com follow us @vomuhabura on how to help our Kisoro stars.