Below is the “Power of Students” speech of James Katumba, an Educate! Mentor. James delivered this excellent speech to the Educate! Scholars at his four partner schools in Kampala, Uganda on the first day of the Educate! Experience. Speeches such as James’ are a part of the two-year curriculum Mentors lead Educate! Scholars through. The curriculum is geared at equipping Scholars to start social enterprises in their communities and become the next generation of socially responsible leaders:
Each of us comes from a home. Whether broken or united, happy or sad, rich or poor, big or small, in Kampala or in Moroto, we all come from a very valuable unit called a home. Our homes are part of our communities, and our communities are united into one country.
Our homes, communities and country invest resources in educating us. Multitudes of resources such as time, finances, books, labour and so much more are dedicated to giving us an education. Be it in the elite schools or the poorest of the poor, public or private, valuable resources are injected in the education sector.
We can’t help but ask a simple and vital question; why? It all comes down to one thing. Our homes, communities and country want us to live a better life than theirs. They want us to make this world a better place. They acknowledge that we are the future; that the hopes of this world lie on the shoulders of the youth, we the students.
The fact that our importance to the future is acknowledged means that our homes, communities and countries are open to our ideas. They are open to our influence which points to a great challenge. We are faced with the challenge of creating a better society, not in the future, but now! We have to lay the foundations of a better society now, for our own better future. We have to learn from the failures and successes of the past and present generations, from our experiences in our own time, so as to make this world a better place.
This calls for intuition, innovation, initiative, focus, action, determination, persistence, unity and self belief as students, belief in your power as students.
Take the example of forests. Most Ugandans depend on forests for firewood, charcoal, building poles, and timber. Half of Uganda’s forests have thus been destroyed. This is dangerous. However, Uganda has over four million students. This is a source of hope. Each student could plant just one tree from seeds germinated locally at no cost. If this is done each year, Uganda’s forest cover and the environment would be saved before the students in primary one leave school. This is just one way students can lead a powerful movement for a better future.
Just imagine if we as students used our power and tackled problems that endanger our future. Problems like hygiene, waste management, school dropouts, and others that need sensitization and simple actions. Imagine how far we could go in making our homes, our communities and our country far much better for ourselves, for our own future. It is possible, let’s start now, let’s start together.