|Posted on October 2, 2015 at 6:55 AM|
On the heels of CTT’s recent Graduation Celebration for University/Vocational graduates, a new group of students have embarked on their Tertiary studies. During their post-Secondary studies, CTT assists students with the cost of tuition and some discretionary funds for supplies or living. In addition, CTT provides each new student with their own gently-used laptop computer to complete their coursework.
After receiving their Senior 6 National Examination results, students apply to a specific school providing their top 5 choices for course studies in rank order of preference. They cross their fingers that their first choice will be accepted and then await the school’s final decision. Because the majority of Ugandans don’t have actual mailing address, the admissions are published in the newspapers. If students accept the program the school has offered him/her, then they pick their admission letter and begin their preparations for studies.
Uganda Universities and Vocational schools are program focused. Students take classes specific for their program from their very first semester. No required General Education classes here. However, that means that once enrolled, there is no changing the program. In cases of disinterest in that specific program, a student would have to reapply to the University and go through the selection process again.
Allow me to introduce CTT’s 2015 University students. These young ladies worked hard to obtain this opportunity. While none of them are studying what they originally hoped, they have rallied to find fulfillment where their destiny has taken them. Each will graduate in May 2018… while it seems like far, the time will invariably fly by very quickly for them.
Catherine is studying to obtain a Bachelors of Procurement and Supply Chain Management at Makerere University Business School- Jinja.
Rechael is studying to obtain a Bachelors of Office and Information Management at Makerere University Business School- Kampala.
Sheillah is studying to obtain a Vocational Certificate in Laboratory Assistance from Medicare Health Professionals College- Kampala.
|Posted on January 24, 2015 at 10:20 AM|
Yesterday I had the privilege of attending the 65th Annual Makerere University Graduation of one of Change The Truth’s sponsored students. Wasswa Nelson joined 13,770 other students in graduating this year from Uganda’s oldest and largest Public University. Truly a remarkable achievement here in Uganda!! Nelson graduated with his Bachelor Degree in Computer Sciences, and trust me, the future of this young man is very bright.
Due to the masses of Graduates, Nelson only received an invitation for 2 people to attend his Graduation ceremony, so Joan Faith and I were incredibly honored to those invited. There were so many graduates that each student received only a brief individual moment of acknowledgement when their name was read amongst the other graduates in their particular program. But when that moment came, the emotions of pride in Nelson and his accomplishment was completely overwhelming!
Nelson is one of the most ambitious young people I have ever known, but here in Uganda that ambition accompanies LOTS of hard work. Nelson is not afraid of hard-work, long hours, diligence, and maximizing every opportunity. I look forward to seeing where life will take Nelson next…but it will be excellent!!
Congratulations to Nelson!!
|Posted on September 20, 2014 at 10:10 AM|
Here in Uganda, every Primary and Secondary school will elect student leaders called Prefects. Prefects usually have a specific job, as well as serve as student monitors and role models in the absence of teaching staff from classrooms. The top Prefect positions are reserved for ‘Head Boy’ and ‘Head Girl,’ who act as school representatives and school body leaders. Also, there are Academic Prefects, like ‘Time Keeper’ who is responsible for ringing the bells to release students for breaks; Religious Prefects, peer leaders from every religious denomination represented at the school to ensure students actually attend church services during the week; Boarding Prefects, like ‘Dormitory Prefects’ to monitor dormitory safety and cleanliness, as well as report cases of theft to school administration; and Social Prefects, who assist in organizing student activities that will interest and involve a large portion of the student body. Elections are during the 1st Term of school, and students actually make campaigns prior to their elections. It is such a distinguished honor to be elected by peers, as well as a fantastic leadership building opportunity!
Well, this year one of the Change The Truth’s sponsored students was elected Prefect! I can not say enough glowing things about Yawe Joseph. He encapsulates leadership, fairness, kindness, and genuine helpfulness. He is one of the most dependable, hard-working, contentious, well-mannered young men I have had the honor to know and adore. Joseph is a Senior 5 student at Kajjansi Progressive Senior Secondary School. He has attended this school since Senior 1, and the student body of over 1,300 students elected him as the Sports and Recreation Prefect for the 2014 Academic Year. Joseph assists with the organization of recreational football and netball matches, as well as encouraging other to get involved.
Prefects typically have a special uniform to distinguish them from their peers. When the teachers are absent from classrooms, they are in charge of maintaining peace or order. Not an easy job, but these young people are rightfully very proud of their elected position. After all, their peers would not have elected them if they could not do a great job.
Congratulations to Joseph!!
|Posted on March 29, 2013 at 10:00 AM|
Yet another love that I have to share with you from Gloria's blog... Gloria's desciption of Saka is PERFECT!!
Nsubuga Saka is a good-looking young man who is very quiet and shy. That is, until you get to know him. Turns out this kid has a wonderful sense of sarcasm and humor, and he absolutely loves to be with people and make them laugh! He is confident, caring and playful - a loyal friend and (like Henry) a terrific role model for the younger children. Knowing Saka all these years has been like unwrapping a beautifully packaged gift. Slowly but surely, the treasure inside has emerged.
Saka has been working hard in vocational school and is now in his final semester at Buganda Royal Institute of Business and Technical Education. This June he will obtain his Certificate of Accounting. Saka is a half-orphan who has been a member of SMK's community since Primary 2. He was one of the first students sponsored by CTT in 2007. Upon his graduation, he will join the business work force. He hopes to work in one of Uganda’s banks.
Saka shared that CTT sponsorship not only provided an educational opportunity, but a way of honoring his late father. “My father was an accountant before he died. People working in banks look so smart, so confident. When I think of working of a bank, I think my father would be very proud of me. CTT provided me with an education that I did not think I would ever have. Now I have hope for my future. I will be a good man, like my father. Thank you CTT.”
Congratulations to yet another successful CTT sponsored student. It has taken a village, and we are proud to be a very big part of it!
For Gloria's full blog on Saka, check it out at http://gloriainafrica.blogspot.com/
|Posted on March 26, 2013 at 12:05 AM|
Because it is no surprise how crazy-in-love I am with this kid... I am piggy-backing on Gloria's blog:
Henry in 2007
Henry in 2012
Ssemanda Henry has completed his vocational studies obtaining a Certificate in Electricity from Nakawa Vocational Institute in November 2012. Henry is a full orphan who has been a member of SMKOM’s community since Primary 2. Henry was one of the first students sponsored by CTT in 2007 during his Senior 2 year in Secondary school. Henry already had an interest in electrical work. Through his sponsorship, CTT was able to provide Henry with an academic opportunity to expand his knowledge base and skill set within the electrical field, thus preparing Henry for Uganda’s competitive job market. Within only 3 months of his vocational completion, Henry now has his first job with RES (Rio Engineering Services) installing electrical services to homes and businesses. In his future, Henry wants to own his own electrical company and specialty shop for electrical supplies. Henry shared that CTT sponsorship meant security in his studies. “When I went to school, I did not have to worry about my school fees being paid. Here in Uganda that is a big problem. I never had to worry about not completing my studies.” CTT sponsorship also offered opportunity and a more secure future for Henry. “Because of CTT I have achieved skills. I now have a job. Thank you for what you have done for me. You have changed my life.”
For Gloria's complete blog about Henry, visit her at http://gloriainafrica.blogspot.com/
|Posted on March 16, 2013 at 4:30 AM|
Change The Truth has committed to sponsoring 5 new students for their Secondary studies…. Tonny, Nahia, Rose, Fiona, and Joan. Each of these exceptional young people is already special friends to many CTT supporters and team members. Coupled with their great academic potential, these 5 students were student leaders at SMKOM and actively involved in Marching Band, Vocal Choir, Ugandan traditional dance, Netball, and Yoga/Acrobatics.
from left: Joan, Nahia, Rose, and Fiona
This year CTT has branched out and located another two quality schools for the Senior 1 students. The girls (Nahia, Rose, Fiona, and Joan) have joined St. Noa Girls’ Secondary School. While Tonny has joined Turkish Light Academy, a school for boys. Both schools have a great academic reputation within Uganda, so CTT is very hopeful for the academic achievements of these bright, promising students.
|Posted on March 2, 2013 at 3:05 AM|
Tomorrow will mark the last Change The Truth students return to Secondary school. This year CTT has 32 sponsored students in all (Secondary, Vocational, and University)… 33 students when you include Antwain. It has been a month full of organizing, shopping, visiting schools, traveling to Kampala, standing in lines at banks, escorting to school, and encouraging. There have been challenges along the way, but looking back, every moment was worthwhile.
One of the primary challenges is that EVERYTHING must be done in person… There are no websites to register children. No online payment system or credit card capabilities to pay school fees and various requirements. Phone calls to conduct business are difficult, if not impossible, with very little getting resolved. So each day requires a daily to-do list: places to visit, people to see, tasks to complete. I make my way from one task/location to another until all is accomplished for the day...some days longer and more distance traveled than others.
Although it prolongs the return process, Uganda starts children at the beginning of every Academic year in 2 week intervals. First the returning students… those students in Senior 2-Senior 4 and Senior 6 begin on-time, which was February 3rd. Schools allow two weeks for those students to complete all of their Beginning of Term examinations and get settled back into the routine of school. Next comes the Senior 1 students… these new students to Secondary school began their Secondary studies on February 17th. Their first couple days were devoted to school orientation before they delve into their massive study load. Finally the Senior 5 students… these students are beginning their Advanced Level courses, which are more intensive and detailed studies of their chosen course combination. They will report tomorrow to their schools, and studies will resume for them on Monday 4th.
So next week I am treating myself to a day off for a massage and spa treatments (Thanks to CTT Team 6.), my days are now preparing for Visitation Days, completing financial Accountability, organizing our next holiday program, and some other exciting projects that I will share with you soon.
SMK still has Secondary students living in the dormitories. There are several non-CTT students who are day scholars at some of the nearby Secondary schools. I am very thankful for their company. I still enjoy/take comfort in their noises during the evenings. I hear them trek to school in the early morning hours. Even so, my house is once again quiet. I don’t have to cook supper every night for my boys. I can take my leisurely time in the morning getting ready. Honestly, I miss them terribly, but I am recognizing and coming to terms that such is life for a parent empty-nesting during the school term here in Uganda.
|Posted on February 5, 2013 at 2:55 AM|
Being a member of the Change The Truth team/family, Antwain has somehow made a bridge in his mind that he is now a Change The Truth sponsored student. I thought I overheard a conversation between he and Brian about being a CTT student and how that applied to Antwain in Secondary school. In his mind, I am his sponsor. (Although I remind him that I don’t receive frequent sponsor letters!) I pay his school fees at the same banks. I buy similar school supplies. Antwain often shops with Big Boys for his school clothes and shoes. I drop off, visit, and pick him up at school, just like the CTT sponsored students…. So I can honestly see where connections were made.
His revelation made me laugh but also filled me pride. I LOVE that he feels that connected with CTT! I also believe it demonstrates the depth of Antwain’s affections towards his friends in Uganda. He does not see them as orphans or poor or unfortunate… he sees them as a group of peers that he feels proud to belong to. I shared as gently as I could the significant differences between his situation and actual sponsored students, so he now understands better. He asked if he could say that he was a ‘member’ of CTT, instead of ‘student.’ Sounded like a good compromise to me!!
So in just a couple of weeks, I will be sending off 5 CTT-sponsored students and 1 CTT member!
I love, marvel, and am often pleasantly surprised by my kid!!
|Posted on September 6, 2012 at 5:30 AM|
I am always grateful for those significant moments (however small) that bring me back to my core. They center me again. They remind me of what is truly important. They cause all the superficial nonsense or small, unimportant items on my ‘to-do’ list to be placed in their proper perspective. Here in Uganda, they also reassure me that I am where God has strategically positioned me to be, even if that is literally on the other side of the world from those I love.
These past couple of weeks, I have had all 30 Change The Truth students… Secondary, Vocational, and University…come to my home for their ‘School Visit’ to prepare for the upcoming term. In efforts to be thorough and consistent, I have to admit that I am quite a task-master during this visit…sign this payment voucher, sign this receipt, hand out bank slips showing paid tuition, check off school requirements, double-check school supplies, recount any issued funds, reminder about upcoming dates/visitors/needed items, read sponsor letter, encouragement of school performance, etc. In most cases it is my last private moment with students before they head off to school.
Two weeks ago, one of our University students, Daniel, came for his ‘School visit.’ He is probably the quietest CTT’s sponsored students. His brother lives in Kajjansi, so he spent more school holidays staying with his brother than at SMKOM. I will frequently meet him on the road, so we will engage in a chat before heading our separate directions again. I have really enjoyed getting to know him, and he is eager to enter his final year at the University. (And incidentally, he will be CTT’s FIRST University graduate this upcoming summer!)
During his visit, Daniel updated me on his summer internship before I launched into the technical list of tasks that we had to accomplish. As he finished signing the final item, I literally stopped myself mid-sentence (maybe even mid-word), as this young man sat crying at my table. As he gathered his composure and words again, he was overcome by the opportunity that Change The Truth was supporting him through. You see he had a full summer back here in Kajjansi to meet his fellow colleagues in school who were driving boda-boda motorcycles, working at the local butchery, performing odd jobs digging or building, or simply sitting around waiting for some job to fall from the sky. He has now seen the distinct fork in his road. He can now see his future in Marketing blossoming as he enters his final year at the University. With his voice high in emotion, he shared, “I would be that one sitting at home. Just sitting. But now I have life thanks to Change The Truth. My words of thanks will never be enough. But I say thank you anyways.”
As I gave a big hug, as a supporter, as a believer in his future, as a voice from CTT, and as a friend, I replied, “Your thanks will always be more than enough. Just remember Change The Truth believes in you, and they will never stop.”
When Daniel left, I watched him walk through our compound wiping the final traces of his tears and inhaling deep breaths. At that distinct and significant moment, I, too, was overcome, inspired, renewed, and grateful to be the chosen one here with CTT. CTT is definitely changing the truth, offering a brighter future, and providing hope for 30 exceptional Ugandan orphans. And I am still holding that particular moment close to my heart even now!
|Posted on September 3, 2012 at 7:55 AM|
Two weeks ago, two new CTT sponsored University students began their studies. Samarie and Habib were amongst the first students sponsored by CTT five years ago. CTT began sponsoring them in Senior 2 and due to their hard work & great academic performance they continue to be sponsored in Post-Secondary, too.
Before I tell you about what they are doing at University, let me explain their journey to admission. Samarie and Habib took their final Senior 6 National Examination back in November 2011. They waited more than 6 months before receiving their results in June. Then it is a mad dash to get admission forms filled for Universities. Here in Uganda, students typically choose 3-5 courses that they would LIKE to study in ranked order during application. Ultimately, it is the University that decides which course to GIVE students. Their decision is final, and it is not possible for students to change their course once they have started classes.
Since there is no door-to-door mail service in Uganda and less than 10% of Ugandan even have a post office box, the admissions to all Universities are published in the daily newspaper. On publication day, students and parents can been seen on street corners or in taxis combing the pages of the newspaper to reveal the course offered by their chosen University. Afterwards, students report to the University Registrar office to receive their admission forms, bank slips and class schedule. Students found out about admissions beginning of August giving them only 3 weeks to prepare for classes…oh, Uganda!
Most Bachelor level degrees are 3 years following the same academic calendar as American universities. The major difference is that students focus solely on their coursework. There is no well-rounded, Liberal Arts University education here. Students attend specific classes for their degree area only.
For as long as I have known Samarie (since 2007), she has always shared that she wanted to be a journalist. While some of her peers have changed their ideal professions, Samarie has not. And now she has the opportunity to fulfill that dream at Ndejje University in Mengo (area of Kampala) pursuing her Bachelors in Journalism and Mass Communication.
I have always admired Habib’s ambition. For as long as I have known him (since 2008), he has exhibited a passion for politics. He closely follows all of the business of Uganda’s Parliament. He can identify and give biography information on all political figures in East Africa. And he knows with absolute certainty that one day he will be an elected member of Ugandan Parliament. Habib has been accepted at Makerere University to study his Bachelor of Arts in Social Science. He will use this opportunity as a springboard for his political aspirations in the future.
Change the Truth offers these students sponsorship for their school tuition and needed class materials, notes, supplies. In addition, they were gifted with a gently-used laptop computer to assist with their endless research, class assignments, and term papers. For more information about sponsoring a student through Change The Truth, visit
Congratulations to both Samarie and Habib. Stay tuned to see what is in store for these young people in their future, cause their possibilities are limitless.