In school, but Olwit still creates the time to change people’s livelihood
Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2022/11/in-school-but-olwit-still-creates-the-time-to-change-peoples-livelihood/
By Pauline Luba
As a child, Aiko Olwit often traveled with her father to their upcountry home in Lira district, northern Uganda. Each time she made the trip, Olwit says she would look with empathy at the kind of life most of the people there led. Some were unable to have more than one meal a day. Others lacked decent clothing; it was not unusual to see people dressed in tattered clothes.
Could she help such underprivileged people? No. She had no financial means. What she had, however, was empathy. From then, she made up her mind that when she became of age, she would set up a charity to help the less privileged. That resolution kept haunting Olwit that she could not wait to complete school before putting her plan into action.
In 2019, she conceived the idea of starting a non-profit organization. One barrier was that same year, she was a candidate in the Senior Six national examinations. Her parents – Fredrick Olwit and Belinda Sebunya – had misgivings about her timing of starting a charity. However, she persuaded them. Aiko Olwit’s efforts gave birth to Pro Bono, a non-profit organization that creates positive change through outreach programs among youth in high school.
Sooner than later, Olwit, now a year-two student pursuing a Bachelor of Procurement and Logistics Management at Uganda Christian University (UCU), realized that it was easier said than done. It became difficult for her to multi-task on her academics and run her newly founded baby – Pro Bono. Yet, she soldiered on.
In 2022, Olwit got her organization registered with the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development. She says she spent between sh5million and sh7million (about $1,300-$1,800) to launch the organization. She spent the money in producing posters and promotional videos, among other things.
The project that kick-started the launch of Pro Bono was a students’ activity, where Olwit’s organization partnered with Smart Girls Uganda, to teach students aged 16-18, from Kabojja International School and Aga Khan High School how to make reusable sanitary pads. Smart Girls Uganda is a non-profit, girl-centered organization that empowers and mentors girls to speak out, be decision makers and create visionary change in society.
Pro Bono also engages in drives to promote environmental conservation, as well as empowering youth to develop a reading culture. She said they host a virtual book reading session at 4 p.m. every Sunday.
Olwit, the first born of six siblings, believes that her family has been the bedrock of whatever achievements her organization has registered so far.
“Many people have role models outside their homes, but for me, mine have always been at home,” she said. “My family members are my source of inspiration.”.
She attended Kampala Junior Academy for Primary, Gayaza High School and Makerere College School for O’level and A’level, respectively. All the three schools are located in central Uganda.
Aiko Olwit giving a speech at the Budo League Dinner after sealing a partnership with an old students association.
She says it was while at Gayaza High School that she got involved in social activities aimed at improving people’s livelihood in communities. She did this through the Interact and Youth Alive clubs. At Makerere College School, as a student leader, she was tasked with planning students-led initiatives, such as movie nights, and car wash activities, to raise funds for the needy. She said such activities only helped to cement the resolution she made as a child to improve people’s lives, seeing less privileged people struggle to get a livelihood.
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