Sheila Ainembabazi 2019 UCU Literacy Project Intern ‘God will make a way’
Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2020/01/sheila-ainembabazi-2019-ucu-literacy-project-intern-god-will-make-a-way/
(LAST OF FOUR PARTS: This article features one of 10 interns hired to assist with the five-year-old Uganda Christian University dissertation research and writing training. She was selected from among 200 applicants. In addition to serving post-graduate students through the clinic, interns build their own resumes and obtain jobs or further education opportunities.)
By Patty Huston-Holm
When Sheila was born in 1996, she was given the Ugandan name Ainembabazi, which in her Runyankole mother tongue language means “God has grace.” She was the first born of Frank Kamukama, a vocational agricultural teacher, and Grace Kiconco, a housewife and part-time shop owner who sells basic household items in their Western Uganda Mbarara District.
Her younger sister, Franklin, got the name Ainomugisha, which means “God has blessings.” Her two brothers, Kelvin Ainamaani and Alvin Ainebyoona, have Ugandan names translated to “God has power” and “God is everything,” respectively.
God, obviously, is central to the family.
Thus, on the September 2, 2019, morning of this interview, Sheila praised the Lord for placing her in the next phase of her studies to be an attorney. While disappointed that she would be in a nine-month Law Development Centre (LDC) program in Mbarara and not alongside her best friend, Ruth, chosen to study in Kampala (269 kilometers or 167 miles away), she was grateful. Sheila and Ruth, who graduated in July 2019 with Bachelors of Law degrees from Uganda Christian University, received entry into the country’s LDC program with classes starting September 23. Due to some Ministry of Justice disagreement, this cohort of students was not required to take the usual pre-entry exam to qualify for this phase.
Coming from humble beginnings, Sheila has been able to find blessings and patience wherever she has been placed.
At UCU, she was a work study student who rose early each morning to clean offices, dust library books, prepare tea and make deliveries before her classes as part of her tuition reimbursement. She learned the value of being “the least of these” and appreciation to those who noticed and thanked her for her work, including Dr. Joseph Owor in the School of Research and Post-Graduate Studies (SRPGS).
While studying law on the UCU Mukono campus, she became especially concerned with Ugandans who were mistreated due largely to their literacy levels. Her final research paper focused in the inequalities and legal violations related to land ownership and transfer rights, especially as it pertains to women.
“Most Ugandans are illiterate,” the 23-year-old said. “They go in and buy a two-page book and write sale agreements and think they are done until they save money and go further to register their land. Then a richer, more literate person comes in and agrees to pay more and gets a title. For women, a husband dies or leaves, and the clan pushes her and the children out even though she legally has ownership. These are some of the issues I want to help with.”
Noticing injustices, Sheila reflected, has been part of her life for quite some time. A leader in her high school, she often noticed student issues and brought them to the attention of administrators.
“I remember we were being served old food at the canteen,” she said. “The mandazi (fried doughnuts) were molded. We broke them open and saw it. I brought that to the attention of our school leaders, and it was resolved.”
Sheila understands being shunned and humbled. Not all around her at UCU understood or valued her janitorial work.
“One student (in Law) told me that doing a maid’s work was not good for my career,” she recalled. “He said people don’t trust a cleaner.”
But one such person who did trust her was the Rev. Canon Dr. John Senyonyi, UCU’s vice chancellor. He observed her diligence and hard work and, along with his wife, Ruth, decided to provide Sheila with lodging at their house as part of their support of her scholarship in her final two years. Being able to work and live on campus and have her housing and some food provided enabled Sheila to focus more and excel higher in her studies.
For this, she is grateful, along with being chosen as a 2019 intern for the UCU Partners and SRPGS co-sponsored clinic to help post-graduate students. She learned a lot about technology, organization, time lines and service.
Today, she is concerned about paying fees for her next nine-month law study program. Some of her payment of $400 for three months work in the internship will help. She is praying for more support.
“God will make a way,” she said. “God has made a way.”
To support Uganda Christian University programs, including the post-graduate literacy program, go to www.ugandapartners.org and click on the “donate” button, or contact UCU Partners Executive Director, Mark Bartels, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The post Sheila Ainembabazi 2019 UCU Literacy Project Intern ‘God will make a way’ appeared first on Uganda Christian University Partners.