In June 2022, Uganda Christian University launched a fundraising campaign intended to support education of needy students at the institution. Named “For Just 10k,” the campaign was intended to raise sh1billion (about $270,000), that, according to Vice Chancellor Aaron Mushengyezi, will come in handy, especially for students who “struggle with their tuition and other needs.” Dorothy Tushemereirwe, a consultant who is coordinating the project, says people have contributed from as little as sh10,000 (about $2.6) to organizations donating even up to sh10million (about $2,600) towards the cause. The campaign has so far raised sh70million (about $18,800) that has supported up to 24 students. Kefa Senoga talked to three of the beneficiaries.
All was well for Bridget Kiwala’s family until their father, Grace Mugweri, was involved in an accident, which affected his backbone. Mugweri is a farmer. “My father always paid my full tuition and my accommodation fees at a hall of residence in the university,” said Kiwala, a student of Bachelor of Procurement and Logistics Management. However, she said all this has since changed. She is no longer residing in the hall and has opted for the cheaper alternative of staying with a relative in Mukono, not far from the university, to be able to commute to the university every day.
As the end of last semester approached, Kiwala was staring at a possibility of not sitting her exams because she had not paid the full tuition. “When my mother heard that I would not sit my exams, she got hypertensive and yet she was the one looking after my bedridden father,” Kiwala said.
When Kiwala learned of the opportunity of getting a tuition top-up from the “Just For 10k Campaign,” she immediately applied. She was awarded a top-up of sh2,652,000 (about $714). Kiwala said that news made her feel like she was reborn.
She is now thinking of what happens next, since her father is still in hospital. “I have been doing some work during the holidays, such as washing people’s clothes and engaging in some other small businesses, in order to raise tuition for the next semester,” she said.
To raise tuition, Bazibu Magibu says that he has had to make and sell bricks before every semester. He says he has been paying his tuition since Senior Four, when his parents stopped paying the school fees.
However, last year, Magibu, a student pursuing a Diploma in Information Technology at UCU, failed to raise the full tuition for his last semester. He says when he appealed to the university administration for help, he was informed of the opportunity with the Just For 10k Campaign basket. He applied and was considered for the tuition top-up.
Magibu, the sixth-born in a family of 15 children, says he is the only one in the family who has reached this far in education. Most of his siblings stopped in Senior Four due to lack of school fees. He says when he graduates, he hopes to return to university to pursue a bachelor’s degree in the same field.
Byishimo, a year-three student of Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering, received the highest top up of tuition of sh4,695,333 (about $1,260) from the campaign basket.
The former student of Mengo Senior School said ever since he joined UCU, he has always had challenges with paying full tuition within the university’s stipulated period. He said about five family members contribute to his tuition, but that the contributions are still not enough.
“I got the scholarship one day to the start of exams and you can’t imagine how relieved I felt,” Byishimo said, noting that the benefactors have raised the hopes of many people who were staring at a possibility of missing exams. He says he has been touched by the generosity, and that in the future, he will endeavor to do the same for the underprivileged. Byimosho hopes to become a water engineer.
Tushemereirwe says that after learning about the cause of the campaign, organizations like Ubuntu Youth Leadership Centre have come on board as partners and have paid tuition for three final-year students – George Ojocheyi, Apili Peninah and Namiiro Benita – who are pursuing Bachelor of Laws at UCU.
An individual who prefers to remain anonymous has committed to paying tuition for Nambuya Anna, a first-year student of Bachelor of Business Administration at UCU, until she completes studies.
UCU has introduced many such initiatives to empower needy students before, such as the student-driven Save a Buddy. The program is aimed at helping needy students who are unable to clear tuition and successfully sit for their end-of-semester examinations. Students contribute to help their less-fortunate peers through collections of money at the campus entrance gates, serving food in the dining hall to students, and fundraising through washing cars
How to donate for the ‘For Just 10k’ campaign
For direct deposits: +256774530810 in names of Dorothy Tushemereirwe or +13344240964 in the names of Mark Bartels (Reason for giving should be “For just 10k fundraiser”)
Online donations: Use GoFundMe (https://www.gofundme.com/f/needy-university-students)
Direct cash deposits on Stanbic bank: Account name: Uganda Christian University. Account Number: 9030005916673.