Beating all odds to emerge the best

Monday January 28 2019

Esther Nyapendi, celebrating with her teachers

Esther Nyapendi, celebrating with her teachers after she scored Aggregate 4 in PLE at Goodways Primary School. Photo by Joseph Omollo  

By Desire Mbabaali

A number of people have come to believe Leila Janah’s quote, “talent is equally distributed; opportunity is not”. Therefore, when individuals put in their best work to rise to the challenges in their lives and around them, these deserve to be recognised – not because they are special, but because they show us that we, too, can.
So, meet these Primary Seven leavers who beat the odds of challenging, humble and underprivileged backgrounds and earned themselves a place on the table of winners.

Sometimes I would miss classes due to fees
From a family of six children, Nyapendi had been missing classes since the school frequently chased her for fees but she says God stood with her. “I attribute my performance to God, because if He had not stood with me, I would not celebrate these good results. However, my only worry now is on how I will continue with secondary education due to financial constraints. I want to fulfill my dream of becoming a nurse,” she says. Nyapendi desires to join Tororo Girls School but her family background and the debt she owes her former primary school might stand in her way.
Esther Nyapendi, Goodways Primary School, Tororo, Aggregate 6

I focussed more on my books than on my poor background
“This came as a surprise to me! I never expected it because while still in school, I used to get Aggregate 10 or above in exams. However, I did not lose hope but instead read harder. I would wake up at 5am and go for preps,” he recalls.
Though Mugisha comes from a very humble family, his mother being the cook at the same school he attended and his father a peasant in Soroti, affected the way he looked at success. To him, these three principles worked; reading hard, having good teachers and always revising PLE past papers.
The youngster desires to join Teso College and study sciences to become a doctor in future.
Rogers Mugisha, Bridge Kengere, Soroti District, Aggregate

My mother was in Luzira prison
Since Primary Four, the only time Kabiite would see her mother (Aisha Nakasibante) was when she would visit her in Luzira prison. Nakasibante was imprisoned in the wake of the murders of Muslim Clerics, until recently when she was released. Despite the emotional turmoil associated with an imprisoned parent, Kabiite was determined to pass her PLE with flying colours.
“My mother’s situation affected me. I would cry every time I visited her in prison but she always told me to work hard as it would make her proud. But also, I am lucky to have two mothers. So my other mother was always there to pay my school fees, textbooks and everything I needed. She made sure I was among the first people to report to school,” she says. This motivated her to be a hard worker, always among the top five in her class. “I would wake up early to read and always take extra work from teachers. I also did a lot of practice with Maths,” she says.

Raihana Kabiite, Lorencia Junior School, Nsangi, Aggregate 4

I got the first first grade in my family
Aniku says he wants to build a hospital in Arua one day and to him, scoring Aggregate 10 is one step towards realising that seemingly faraway dream. “Of all my brothers, no one has ever got a first grade! I am the first. I put my strength on passing Mathematics and Science and I am very happy with the results. One of the things that helped me pass is that I read hard, aasked questions and teachers directed me. I thank them,” Aniku says. My parents took me to school despite their financial constraints. His father is a shop keeper and his mother runs a restaurant. “At home, they decided I should not do any manual work, so that I concentrate on my books. I love sciences, and want to be a doctor when I grow up so that I can build a hospital in Arua one day,” he shares.
Rogers Aniku, Bridge, Adalafu, Arua District, Aggregate 10

Sickle cell disease did not stop me
To date, his mother Sayuni Twinamatsiko is still marveling at how her son was able to perform this well. “Ainembabazi is living with sickle cells and his life is characterised with hospitals, doctors and missing school,” she explains.
However, all this did not put him down. “I worked hard, but my teachers were also helpful in giving me extra work as well as always willing to explain what I did not understand,” he says.
The news to him was both surprising and exciting. A boy of few words, Ainembabazi hopes to be a journalist. However, his schooling, like his life has been a tough journey because his father abandoned them. “I go around doing odd jobs for people to get school fees and money for his medical bills. Aside from sickness, he is always in and out of school because of school fees. We have actually not yet picked his results from school because we still owe the school some money,” his mother explains.
Trevor Ainembabazi, Unique Primary School Bweyogerere, Aggregate 6