Struggles of a poor village girl

By Ouma Angel

I grew up in a small Village called Koro in the northern part of Uganda.  I was beautiful when I was young, my skin was dark and so smooth it seemed to be glowing. I had four siblings. My father was a driver and my mother a fishmonger. Both their earnings were not enough to support the family.

I dreamed of acquiring education and making life better for myself and my family.  I always believed it would be the way to power and wealth. I knew my parents were poor because of they’re lack of education. In fact, if I were to trace back the entire family of my parents, nobody had gone to school. I felt lack of education was the reason for the vicious cycle of poverty my family was trapped in.

People don’t value education in my community, certainly not for girls. Girls are expected to marry early, and their only duty is to bear children and to take care of their family. And even when they get a chance of going to school, most drop out in the lower primary level because they’re not supported by their families.

Although I didn’t know how, I wanted to be educated at a high level. My father hardly supported me, but my mother did. She gave me whatever little she had to help me. Nobody believed in me but my mother. Some people even said I’d never finish primary education, but I was determined to prove them wrong. I stayed in school and concentrated on studying hard, and I kept passing my classes with good grades.

I finished primary education with a good grade and was ready to enroll in secondary school. I was so excited, and my mother was too. Her happiness encouraged me even more. Unfortunately, there was hardly any money left to pay for tuition, so I enrolled in an average school that was a bit more affordable, one that allowed my family to pay fees in instalments.

When I completed secondary education, I wanted to go to university. It was the beginning of another struggle. I wasn’t even sure if I could go because my mother said she couldn’t afford tuition. She suggested I join an institution for a short course. Fortunately, one of my uncles offered to pay my tuition. It was a dream come true. I took a degree course for three years and graduated. Amidst all the huddles I inspired many young girls to chase their dream.

After I graduated, I got a job as a social worker. I’m able to take care of myself and my family. I proved my community that a poor village girl can make something of herself, and that I was more than just a pretty face. I had broken free from the vicious cycle of poverty, and made my dream a reality.

My determination and hard work made me strong. I still benefit from that today. I learnt that where there is a will, there is a way. As long as you set your mind to do something, you can achieve it. I overcame all the huddles and achieved my dream of becoming an educated woman and inspired other girls in my community to follow their dreams.

10 April, 2023