UCU Partners Scholarship support for single mothers
Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2019/05/ucu-partners-scholarship-support-for-single-mothers/
By Brendah Ndagire
One of the challenges of being a single mother – worldwide and in Uganda – is meeting the responsibility of educating children. The 2016 World Bank report shows that 26.90% of households are ‘Female Headed’ in Uganda. The reality is that Ugandans estimate the percentage of both female-headed homes and/or single-parent homes to be higher.
And the challenge is that Uganda as a nation struggles with the problem of research deficiency, largely due to the fact that majority of the population lives in rural areas, where such data, if collected, can be easily skewed.
Organizations such as the Uganda Association of Women Lawyers (FIDA- Uganda) and Single Parents Association of Uganda (SPU) that work primarily on women issues, report that Ugandan women are single mothers for different reasons. Causes include death of the father to a disease or accident and/or father accusation of a crime and/or incarceration; unemployment of both parents; and willful abandonment of pregnant women.
Nabiryo Annet, mother of Uganda Christian University (UCU) graduate Matende Wilson Paul and four other children in Mukono, is one such single mother. And like most other single mothers, she has struggled since she first learned the news of her pregnancy. When she had her son at age 16, his father abandoned her. She had to raise Wilson with her father.
“My father played the role of the father and grandfather at the same time,” said Annet.
When Annet got pregnant, her friends advised her to get an abortion because she could not possibly support her son on her own. But she refused. Looking now at her grown son who has a UCU Diploma in Business Administration, and all his academic accomplishments, Annet often thinks about the damage she could have done if she had aborted him.
But God has accompanied Annet through the USA-based UCU Partners nonprofit organization. Wilson Paul is a recipient of a UCU Partners’ scholarship. She remembers a time when Wilson graduated from high school. She did not know where to get the money for him to proceed to the university. When her son told her that he was receiving tuition support from a UCU Partners benefactor, she was filled with joy and gratitude. She did not know how he had managed to apply, or how he got accepted by UCU’s Financial Aid Office, but she felt that God had answered her prayers.
“I am grateful to UCU Partners’ scholarship and his sponsor specifically,” Annet said. “What stands out to me is that UCU Partners do not give financial support, but sometimes some sponsors also give career guidance to their students. My son would go on to be a chemistry teacher and mentor to high-school students upon the guidance of his sponsor at UCU.”
Today, Wilson’s mother is very hopeful about his future. When UCU Partners interviewed him, he had plans of going back to UCU for further studies. In January this year, he enrolled in UCU’s bachelor program in Business Administration, while serving as a Finance Assistant to the school where he is teaching chemistry.
There are more than 50 higher education institutions in Uganda, but these single mothers choose UCU because they want their sons to be rooted in Christ, and identify with UCU’s values of stewardship, community, integrity, and servant leadership.
When UCU’s financial aid office, in collaboration with UCU Partners, looks at which student to grant tuition support, they usually listen and learn the story of the student who is applying for support. Very rarely does the financial aid office get to hear the story and experiences of their parents.
Annet is not the only single mother UCU Partners has supported.
Stella Amonyi, is another mother the organization has supported. Her son. Odongokola Joshua El Shadai, also graduated with a Diploma in Business Administration in October 2018. He and his mother live in Kampala, but they are originally from the Northern district of Uganda, Lira.
Stella has worked as a mother to 47 orphaned and street children at Agape Christian Children Home/Center, in Nsambya, Kampala, for the last 11 years. With the sudden death of her husband, she held a job and raised their four children. Her husband died when Joshua, the youngest of the four children, was just three months old.
“My son never got a chance to meet his father. I thank God for caring for my son through UCUPartners,” said Stella.
When she learned that Joshua was receiving a scholarship from UCU Partners, she was very thankful to God.
“I have always prayed that God uses my sons and daughters for expanding His Kingdom. If it wasn’t for God, they would be nothing,” said Stella. Today, with a UCU diploma in hand, Joshua is enrolled in UCU’s bachelor program in Business and Administration. He wants to be an accountant.
Most parents in Uganda are responsible for their children’s education from kindergarten to the university. When UCU Partners supports students at UCU, they indirectly support their parents. This is why parents, such as Annet and Stella, are very grateful to UCU Partners who have empowered their sons through access to university education.
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/