A Parent Voice: UCU Partners scholarship makes difference in lives of disadvantaged students
Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2019/05/a-parent-voice-ucu-partners-scholarship-makes-difference-in-lives-of-disadvantaged-students/
By Brendah Ndagire
Note: In October 2018, UCU Partners spoke with some parents of students who are beneficiaries of its student scholarship program. Pastor Baluku Moses is the father of Bwambale Bernard Mulcho, now a UCU alumnus of its Bachelor in Education program. Bwambale graduated with 4.3 of 5.0 grade-point-average (GPA), and at the time of his graduation he shared that he wanted to teach high school students and eventually pursue a masters program in theology. He and his parents are from Kasese District in southwestern Uganda, neighboring the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Kasese district is known for its tourism. It is where Queen Elizabeth National Park is located, and it is home of the Rwenzori Mountain ranges. While popular for tourists, when to comes to learning, the region struggles to educate its children beyond high school level. Bwambale is one of the few young people who are able to make it out of the district and have access to higher learning institutions in the urban and central regions of Uganda. With the support of UCU Partners, his parents were able to send their son to Uganda Christian University. In this edited interview, Pastor Baluku provides insights into how he feels about his son’s university education.
How long did it take you to get to the graduation in Mukono?
From Kasese, it takes a total of nine hours with seven hours from Kasese to Kampala, and about two hours from Kampala to Mukono.
What does it mean for you to see that your son has graduated?
I have great joy because it was one way of elevating our family, community, and serving God. I am truly happy about it because I know my son has realized his dream.
How meaningful was the UCU Partners scholarship to you as a parent?
It is a great contribution towards my son’s education, and without it, we would not have made it. We have had some financial constraints in the past years. For example, we also were paying school fees for his siblings, and I also was studying at Uganda Baptist Seminary, so the whole household needed money to study, and it was hard for me to raise all the finances needed. We are thankful to God for UCU Partners’ support towards his tuition.
Why is having an education in this country important for you and your family?
It is important because when you are not educated you have a lot of challenges. And when you are educated, you understand the world differently. I believe education opens up doors for us to move anywhere in the world.
Why did you choose UCU for your son’s education?
Because of the good Christian morals it passes on its students. UCU is a more expensive education institution than others. But regardless of that fact, people want to send their children here. Its values and quality education make the university special. It also is why we are very grateful for the UCU Partners’ scholarship program.
How have you contributed to Bwambale’s education?
I work with the Baptist Church as a pastor on volunteer basis, so I earn a small stipend. And my wife sells second-hand clothes. That is how we have earned our living, which in turn we have used to contribute in small amounts to our son’s education. It is common in Uganda for many priests/pastors to volunteer to work full without any financial remuneration. Most of us depend on farming. Our land is very productive, but the main challenge is inadequate rainfall for farmers who reside in the low land regions of Kasese. In the rainfall season, we grow maize, grounds nuts, beans, and keeping animals such as goats and cows. And that is how we are able to meet our financial responsibilities in most cases.
What challenges do young people experience in Kasese district?
The main challenge is poor and limited education access. Most children are only able to go to universal primary and secondary school. Very few can afford to go a private school or to higher learning institutions/universities.
What do you want other parents to learn from your experience?
To keep on trusting God, and not be discouraged by challenges as they support their children through university education.
Bwambale, what stood out from your UCU experience?
I have found UCU as a unique place for me to have the opportunity to access its educational services. I take great pride in the core values the institution has passed on to me, of leaderships, integrity, servanthood and Christ-centeredness. These values will continue to influence my work life and especially the way I will interact with people I encounter in future.
For more of these stories and experiences, visit https://www.ugandapartners.org. If you would like to support a current student or otherwise support the university, contact Mark Bartels, Executive Director, UCU Partners, at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to https://www.ugandapartners.org/donate/