"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."

                     -NELSON MANDELA
Student Essays
Essay 1

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 donation!

"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 challenges.

"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 studying.

"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 children.

"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?

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