Here is the winning essay, written by Kiconco Scovia, who is only 16
years old and taking a heavy course load (yet getting high grades) while
struggling to support her six siblings:
"Surely what seems to be the end may really be a new beginning.
"This is true because after the death of my parents, my life seemed to
be meaningless, and it was as if it had come to an end. It was in 1999
when my father died of AIDS, following by my mother after a period of
eight months. Among the seven children, I'm the second born and after
becoming orphans, we all left school until 2001, when our uncle tried
his level best to assume the role of our parents by taking us to school
and looking after us. By then I was in primary five and through all ups
and downs I managed to complete my primary seven with twelve aggregates.
"I was a kind of person who had never dreamt of joining a secondary
school but out of the blue on 25 January 2004 I was able to get this
"However, besides the help from the US-Uganda Orphans Education Fund, I
have supported myself and my siblings by growing vegetables during the
holidays, weaving baskets which I sell to get some money to buy some
requirements as a supplement to what our uncle gives to us because he
also has eight children and yet he is just a primary teacher. Being
disciplined has played a big role in making me what I am despite the
"Despite the help from my uncle and money from my harvests and even
working for neighbours, still getting requirements as I'm going to
school has become a catastrophe.
"I have overcome this by being patient because I know Rome was not built
in one day - so if possible as time goes on I shall acquire it.
"As a person who does sciences, that is chemistry, agriculture, biology
and foods and nutrition, I'm looking forward to becoming a doctor and I
really want to treat people and as a means of achieving this I have
given God the first priority, then hard work and trying to maintain
discipline in my life since humbleness is the key to success.
"The UUOEF has 'risen me to life' because when I became an orphan I
never expected to live this life I'm living anymore. Fortunately I and
my family are living happily because of this donation because we are all
"However, in case this donation had not been available to us I would
personally be dead if not an AIDS victim, because since I had left
school after primary seven the next step would be joining street
"In respect to the above, the most pertinent and important thing I can
think of is to say thank you to the UUOEF in-charge people for the work
you are doing in my life, my family and my future through educating me.
"I conclude by saying 'suffering does not mean death' and change is a
fact of life because I have been changed from 'death to life' after the
deaths of my two parents."
Do you want to help children like Scovia? As you can read in her essay,
an education gives hope for tomorrow in a country ravaged by war and
AIDS. Their education will provide a brighter future for them and their
siblings, and by extension for all of Uganda's children. These students
will be the doctors, teachers, and leaders of tomorrow, not the street
children whose lives will be cut short by AIDS or violence or
starvation. How can you help?