We had some exciting news earlier this week - three of our students, Marcel Bahati, Benson Wereje, and Daniel Muhwezi, all got accepted into both Makerere and Kyambogo Universities in Kampala (the capital of Uganda). Makerere has for a long time been considered the best university in East Africa and accepts about 7,000 students every year out of approximately 60,000. All three will most likely enroll in Makerere, with Marcel and Daniel studying IT and Benson studying education.
This is a tremendously big moment for Educate! and we were incredibly excited by the news. These students, who only 11 years ago were forced to flee from their home country (they lived in North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and live in squabbles in a refugee camp, have come a very long way, and we are very proud of them. It's very rewarding for us as an organization to know that we took these kids from very desolate situations, put them in the best schools available to them, and now have given them an opportunity to receive the best university education available to them.
If you spent some time with these very bright and driven students, though, you would not be surprised why they have succeeded. I have had the pleasure to get to know them over the past month, as they have volunteered at a community development organization in my village, and have been amazed at their level of sophistication, drive, eagerness to learn, and perhaps most importantly desire to return to their homeland of North Kivu to rebuild the war torn region. I couldn't even count the times they have told me about the various projects they have in mind, from orphanages, to community based organizations, to schools, and we are currently working on a developing a business plan for an income generating project in their refugee camp. This project would supplement the Educate! club (called Coburwas) they have in the refugee camp, which Benson, who is the president, leads with Marcel (treasurer I believe) and Daniel (general secretary). This club fundraises by digging in the fields (to make a maximum of 30 cents a day) to help orphans and needy families. It's quite an inspiring story.