“I hate it when someone says ‘I cannot do something.’ Anyone in this world can do something to make a difference.”
David Ocitti sits in his friend Patrick’s home, looking through photos from his graduation last Saturday. David has relentlessly pursued his education, despite all setbacks.
Held captive by the LRA for 6 months, David and his friends came back to face the challenges of completing their education with little support from home. David worked as a porter, dug in the fields, hauled water, all to put himself through school. Finally when he reached university, he was awarded a scholarship through the local NGO forum.
He remembers going off to university with a lingering sadness that his friends were unable to join him. That is, until they were admitted to Invisible Children Uganda’s (ICU) Legacy Scholarship Program (LSP). David was thrilled to have his friends join him at the university, but was curious about where the funding came from for these scholarships. That led him to the ICU office, where he learned that Ugandan advocates were traveling to the US as Roadies to raise awareness and raise funds for programs in East and central Africa. David thought it was a great idea.
“I’m in for that. I want to fund raise and pay for my friends,” David remembers thinking.
Excited about the opportunity to help support his friends through college, David joined the Invisible Children Roadies for two tours: the Congo Tour and the Frontline Tour. Returning to Uganda from his time on the road, David was inspired with a message he wants to share with Ugandans:
“I think one thing Ugandans have to know is that no matter who you are, no matter where you come from, and no matter what economic background you’re at, you still stand brothers and sisters….Because I am to see now, if something happens to someone who is in eastern Uganda, someone who is in northern Uganda is not concerned. Why? We have to be responsible for whatever happens anywhere in the world.”
David doesn’t just talk about helping his neighbors either, he and his mother have already adopted six orphans into their family, and are paying for them to go to school by selling produce.
“When I came back from captivity, I was like, we need some people at home, you know, to give us company, to keep us laughing,” David explains. “They are like my brothers and my sisters. That is the little I can do now.”
David also recently completed an internship as a mentor with LSP. “Because I personally know what I went through and I know what our community went through…being an intern with LSP made me realize how much we really need to do.”
In addition to continuing his education by earning a Master of Business Administration, David hopes to one day support an orphanage that will provide support for victims of trauma, one of the major needs he sees in the community.