March 12, 2024



Scholarship recipients narrate struggles to keep in school

In June 2022, Uganda Christian University launched “For Just 10k,”a campaign intended to raise financial support for students who are facing economic distress. One of the organizations that responded to that call was the Ubuntu Youth Leadership Centre (UYLC).  Dr. Sabrina Kitaka, the chairperson of the board at UYLC, noted that they wanted to go beyond just contributing to school fees to supporting students through mentorship. Irene Best Nyapendi talked to some students who are recent beneficiaries of the philanthropy of UYLC.

Carolyne Anyango Ohanga
Carolyne Anyango Ohanga – Divinity and Theology

Carolyne Anyango Ohanga has always desired to be an Anglican priest. For that to happen, however, she must attain a bachelor’s degree in divinity, which she is currently pursuing at Uganda Christian University (UCU). She joined UCU after completing a diploma course at Uganda Martyrs Seminary, Namugongo, near Kampala.

Financial challenges warrant Anyango to consider it a miracle that she is still in school. Even just completing her diploma course at Uganda Martyrs Seminary was an amazing achievement. 

Anyango, a Kenyan citizen, preferred to study in Uganda, where tuition is generally less compared to her country. While a student at Uganda Martyrs Seminary, Anyango one day packed her bags ready to abandon school, because she saw no hope in securing money for tuition. 

However, she narrates that just before she left, she shared her financial challenges with the institution’s principal. And she was offered a scholarship.

Even for her first semester at UCU in 2022, Anyango faced challenges in paying the full tuition. She started studies after paying only sh200,000 ($51.22), which is about 13% of the tuition fees required for the semester.

As the examinations approached, Anyango presented her challenges to the office of the Dean of the Bishop Tucker School of Divinity and Theology, who referred her to the UCU Financial Aid Office. The office secured partial tuition. To pay the balance, she had to mobilize her friends, who contributed towards her need. But still, that was not substantial to clear the tuition balance. Anyango eventually sat the exams without clearing full tuition, but only after securing permission from the university on the promise that she would pay the fees balance later.

For the semesters that followed, Anyango would receive donations from well-wishers, including financial assistance from the UCU Guild Fund.

As she started her final semester in the course, Anyango says she had lost hope in finding any funding for her tuition. However, she discovered a call for Ubuntu Youth Leadership Centre (UYLC) scholarships, to which she applied, and was successful. 

Praise Kogere
Praise Kogere – Business

Kogere, a final-year student of Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Finance at UCU, has been raised single-handedly by her mother, a primary school teacher. 

For the times when her salary was inadequate, Kogere’s mother secured loans to pay her children’s fees. However, last year, Kogere’s mother was unable to meet the tuition obligations of her children since her loan dues had accumulated. Therefore, much of her salary went into servicing the loans and paying the debts she had accumulated. That unfortunate incident coincided with the withdrawal of Kogere’s sponsor who had been paying her tuition since Senior Five.

Kogere knew there was no money, but she still reported to school. The money she earned from her holiday job as a house-help was what she used for paying hostel dues at UCU. A scholarship from UYLC enabled Kogere to write her final-year examinations. 

Phoebe Grace Nalwadda
Phoebe Grace Nalwadda – Business

For Nalwadda, paying fees had never been a challenge for her family, until the unexpected demise of her father in 2022. Nalwadda, a final-year student of Bachelor of Procurement and Logistics Management at UCU, says she was left without the financial support she had always relied upon. 

A relative who had promised to meet her tuition obligations could not pay the fees beyond one semester. As Nalwadda was trying to figure out where to get money, a friend brought her attention to a scholarship application call by UYLC. She applied. 

“When I received a call that I had been selected for the scholarship, I shed tears of joy,” she said. “I was so surprised and when I shared the news with my mum, she was the happiest person.”

Rannie Ashaba
Rannie Ashaba
UCU student Rannie Ashaba – Business

The weight of the financial burden that Rannie Ashaba had to deal with at one point, she said, created anxiety, confusion and divided concentration in class. “Where will money come from?” was the question that consistently entered her mind. Despite all the challenges, Ashaba’s Grade Point Average has never been less than 4.3 out of 5.0.

“Early this semester, I was thinking about applying for a dead semester,” she said. However, that will not happen as she has been one of the lucky recipients of a scholarship courtesy of Ubuntu Youth Leadership Centre.

Ashaba, pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration and Accounting, said when she was five years old, her parents separated, leaving the burden of caring for her to her mother. However, tragedy struck in 2009 when her mother passed away.

In 2021, her maternal aunt took her in, pledging to cater for her academic needs, with some help from Ashaba’s grandmother. During the times they lacked, Ashaba applied for tuition top-ups and scholarships from the UCU Financial Aid office.

Last year, Ashaba’s aunt got a health complication which forced her to stop working and commence costly therapy. To date, the 27-year-old says, her aunt has not been able to pay her tuition since she is out of employment.

“I have faced obstacles to an extent that I learned to ignore some of them,” Ashaba said.

Drawing from personal experience, Ashaba urges other students facing financial challenges to share their troubles with people.

“A problem shared is a problem halved solved,” Ashaba said. “Also, keep searching for opportunities because there is always a second chance awaiting you, so don’t think about giving up.”