Four members of the Legacy Scholarship Program (LSP) are currently attending Pabo Secondary School (Pabo SS), and each student fits into one or more vulnerability categories. These categories were developed by Invisible Children in 2005 in order to identify students in northern Uganda who are facing the greatest needs.
In many cases, these vulnerabilities – where the student is a total or partial orphan, experiencing poverty or having a disability, among other things – might limit a student’s success.
But, our LSP scholars are beating the odds.
Two of our students at Pabo SS were the top ranked students in Senior 3 after the first term this year. Oyella Winnifred and Odong Innocent said they often switch back and forth between the first and second spot. In term one, Winnifred said, she was in the number one spot. She likes to use her academic success to encourage other girls to work hard and break down gender stereotypes within their school and wider community.
“I want to tell those young girls in the villages who are just starting school that they have to work hard and read their books so they can succeed in the future,” Winnifred said. “They have to be focused and even try to do better than the boys. I will be a role model to show that they can perform well and have not to fear. What is most important is to concentrate and consult their teachers, books and other students who can help them achieve things in the future.”
Basil said that he would not be in school if it was not for his scholarship, citing that his family is very poor. By attending school, he says, a student from northern Uganda can increase his or her ability to get jobs and compete on a global scale.
“The war has now ended and we are improving. Our education will help us aim higher and compete with students from other parts of the country and even beyond Uganda,” he said.
Our students also have big dreams for their futures. Setting their sights on future goals helps them to find motivation to work hard in school in order to end up where they want to be. Basil, who completes Senior 4 this year, would like to be a doctor. Winnifred hopes to be a doctor as well. Daniel hopes to be a lawyer, and Innocent plans to study hard in order to become an engineer.
Daniel believes that hard work is the best way to confront his challenges.
“You have to remember how life was going on before and that working hard in school can improve your life. You have to succeed in education so at least in the future you can be someone very important. You must be very disciplined because discipline is a key to success,” he said.
Finally, Innocent believes that it helps to consider the students in primary school or just starting secondary school. He likes to give homework exercises to the young people in his community during school holidays in order to keep encouraging them to learn.
“I even coordinate with my teachers from primary school and get books for them to do lessons at home. I like being the example. If I do well from [Pabo SS], they see they should work to perform like me.”
At Invisible Children, we have a special relationship with Pabo Secondary School. The Schools for Schools (S4S) program, driven by contributions from young people across the world, has made the school what it is today, according to Headteacher Akello Lucy.
Without S4S and a classroom block built with the support of the students’ parents, the school would have only two viable buildings. The two preexisting buildings have been converted into dormitories, which allow students to stay safely at school instead of traveling far distances. Schools for Schools projects include three classroom blocks, the construction and furnishing of a science laboratory, supplying the school with a generator and necessary equipment, improving the water system and constructing a five stance latrine.