Kivuna aces UACE despite disability

Kivuna’s peers completed Senior Six in 2020 while he was in the village crippled and learning to use his pair of metallic crutches.PHOTOS /DOROTHY NAGITTA 

What you need to know:

  • The last born in a family of eight, Frank Kivuna lost his mother in 2002 and his dad in 2006 when he had just started school. He was then diagnosed with polio in 2019 which forced him to drop out of school for three years.  

In August 2019, Frank Kivuna, 23, suffered from a strange disease which affected his bones. He was diagnosed with polio and admitted to Mengo Hospital in Kampala. His left hip bone was operated on.
Kivuna says after the operation, he could only move using crutches.
Due to too much pain, he failed to continue with school and returned to his home village in Nakaseke District.

 “Challenges overwhelmed me at the time given the fact that the hospital bills were too high for my family that had no finance muscle. The most hurtful thing, was that l had to drop out of school where my only hope lay,” Kivuna says with a glint in his eye.
Kivuna, a last born in a family of eight lost his mother in 2002 when he was only two years old and his dad in 2006 when he had just started school.      
He was left in the hands of his siblings who were also struggling to make ends meet.

Starts school but…
Kivuna says missing education bothered him given the fact that his siblings were not working yet.
 “I started my nursery at Kamusenene Homeland Primary School, Nakaseke where we used to sit on tarpaulins under trees. From there, I joined Citizens Education Centre, Ngoma in Nakaseke District, where l completed Primary Six from,” he recalls.
One of his sisters, Annet Kanshabe, who started work in Kampala took him to Stallions Primary School, Kawempe where he scored Aggregate 8 in Primary Leaving Exams in 2014. This won him a bursary at Kinaawa High School Kasangati, Wakiso District, where he attained his O-Level education between 2015 and 2018.

In his O-Level exams, he bagged aggregate 21 and his siblings vowed to spend whatever they earned to take him to a better school for A-Level. Kivuna joined Mengo Senior School in 2019 where he read History, Economics and Divinity/Submaths (HED/Sm) as his combination.
At the beginning of second term of Senior Five in 2019, unfortunately he suffered from polio, which forced him to drop out of school for three years.
“My peers completed Senior Six in 2020 while I was in the village crippled and learning to use my pair of metallic crutches. Every day weighed down my heart because most of our village mates regarded me as a failure. I was lame and had failed to accomplish my studies,” Kivuna shares.

Back to school 
“Early 2022, when the Senior Six students were reporting to school, I made up my mind and joined the rest for school,” adds Kivuna.
Since Kivuna had become a candidate for only one year, he had the determination to excel but l was the only student using crutches in the whole school.
In January 2022, Kivuna’s leg got critically ill and he could not walk again.
“I was admitted to Naguru Hospital and they diagnosed another condition in the bone known as osteomyelitis. It urgently required a medical surgery which I underwent for three weeks,” Kivuna says. He recovered in the fourth week when his peers had covered the syllabus given the challenges faced after Covid-19.

He reported back to school well knowing that he had missed a lot and UACE exams would soon be due.
“As the saying goes that every cloud has a silver lining, my only stronghold were the supportive teachers and students at Mengo Senior School who always ensured that I had my meals in time. They brought me food from the kitchen to class and this gave me more zeal to concentrate on my studies,” he explains.

 “I had in a way ‘lost’ my physique, so my only hope was in education. Henceforth, I set a target of getting 20 points in my exams so as to attain a government scholarship factoring in the financial constraints at home,” the 23-year-old says.
Kivuna drew his timetable to prepare for Uneb. This involved staying at school for the short holidays and he used those holidays to fix areas he was not yet good at.
“In the long term, l knew sleeping only three hours a night would bridge the gap to my goal. This worried my classmates because I spent long hours awake trying to concentrate on books,” he shares.
The young man adds that this did not come easy as some of the students talked behind his back, saying he most likely had no home. But, he was resilient and optimistic.

Kivuna scored 17 points in the mock exams which earned him a half bursary for third term.
He added that thie readied him for the exams.
 On February 3, when UNEB released the 2022 UACE exam results, Kivuna had bagged 20 points, and was among the few best students in the country.
“When I look back at my journey! I feel that I fought a good fight,” he says.
Kivuna wants to pursue a Bachelor of Laws at Makerere University and he believes this will propel him to pursue his passion of fighting for people’s rights.
“There are many people in communities that do not receive justice they deserve, and this is unfair. God willing, if I become one (lawyer), I will help them to receive justice,” he relates.

Message to youth and PWDs

 “My fellow youths out there need to learn how to embrace challenges in their lives; do not expect to lead only a clear path that is not how life is and given the world today we need to be the solution to the increasing challenges in our communities,” he shares.
“My fellow persons with disability (PWDs) are also very important in this world. Let us not undermine ourselves and be minimised because of our disability. Just  defy disability is not inability,” he adds.