BY ANNAH MARY TUSIIME
Rachel’s is a story of a life that was forever changed.
She was raised by a single mother who farmed other people’s gardens for a living and, with the little she had, she supported Rachel until Senior 4 (aged 15 years).
Unable to find any lasting work within her community, Rachel’s mum’s income dwindled. After writing her final exams, Rachel lost all hope of ever going back to school.
Rachel lives in a rural community where schools are scarce. Pupils walk for about eight kilometres to get to school, meaning they miss out on their early lessons. Stories of walking several dusty and lonely roads for hours to get to school may seem like tales of old but, sadly, these and more still happen in the lives of many rural school-going children in the present day.
Poverty levels are also high, which has contributed a great deal to child neglect. Some parents even go to the extent of giving their children up for marriage to be able to collect a ‘bride price’.
Rachel is very determined, and has been able to keep her focus. Even when life seemed hopeless, she did not throw in the towel.
In time, a ray of light came through for her. A Creative Learning Centre (CLC), set up by Viva and its partner network CRANE,was introduced in her community. Rachel was enrolled at one of the CLCs for catch-up classes to prepare her for her next level of education.
After six months of classes, she started her A-levels and after that a teacher’s college to pursue a certificate in Early Childhood Development.
Rachel now beams with joy. She is a proud early childhood teacher, based at one of our centres, and currently supports the teachers in that CLC and mainstream school.
She helps girls with catch-up classes, so that, just as she was able to go back to school, other girls can be motivated to enroll back into mainstream schools in order to fulfil their dreams too. She is a role model for them and we are so proud of her!
What Rachel would like in the future is to be a world changer; doing what she can to help vulnerable girls in her community realise their dreams. And to give hope to those who think all hope is gone.
Will you please pray for Viva, CRANE and all of our partners in Uganda? Pray that, through the work of Viva and CRANE, children’s lives will be transformed and a better generation raised.
Annah Mary Tusiime is Administrator for Viva Africa, based in Kampala, Uganda