Nathan is a 21-year-old young man from Pearl High School. He was born in Sembabule district in the western part of Uganda. Despite his young age, he went to work as a cattle keeper and farm laborer. For four years, he struggled to make ends meet, juggling multiple jobs at once. His passion for education and leadership motivated him through these difficult years as he labored to raise enough money to pay school fees. As a result of his hard work, Nathan was able to raise enough money to buy a plot of land and some shares in one of the biggest farms in his home district. After five years, he was able to resume his studies. Since then, Nathan has never looked back!
As an Educate! scholar at Pearl High School, Nathan seized the opportunity to learn personal and community leadership, project planning, and opportunity identification which he put to use in his community. Nathan comes from a predominantly cattle keeping community whose livelihood depends entirely on their cows. Last May, there was an outbreak of east coast fever that killed many animals and left cattle keepers helpless and desperate. The nearest drug store was many miles away from the village, inaccessible to his community members. Using skills he cultivated in the Educate! program, Nathan put social entrepreneurship to work to solve this problem that was so drastically impacting his community. He invested in a veterinary drug store after selling his farm shares which had appreciated in value to $435 US dollars. His drug store is accessible to all community members who need drugs to treat their cattle. Later that year, Nathan paid a visit to the district veterinary officer. From their conversations, the officer took an interest in his project, and made arrangements to monitor it and thereafter, awarded him a license. Now Nathan is able to pay his and his sister’s school fees as well as employ a person to manage his store while he’s away at school.
This January, Nathan was invited to attend a meeting of government officials at his District’s headquarters. There, he met the Residence District Commissioner, the Chief Intelligence Officer, Chief Administrative Officer, Internal Affairs Minister and other government representatives. During the meeting, Nathan had the opportunity to speak and brought many important issues to the attention of these government officials. Among these issues were the misuse of public funds by the district leaders, poor infrastructural facilities, congested classrooms, unqualified teachers, land conflicts and land grabbing by the rich. The Internal Affairs Minister promised to look into these matters and work towards finding solutions to them. Since then, Nathan’s district has seen vast improvements in these problem areas. Nathan is proud to say he was able to initiate tangible changes that have benefited thousands of people in his community. Recently, Nathan was elected as the youth parish leader and he is looking forward to starting a change makers association; a group that will get youths in his community involved in projects to create positive change. In the future, he hopes to go to university and study law. In 2015, he plans to run for election as a youth member of parliament in his district.
Joyce Achiro – Otim believes that the path to success lies in the support from her own community. From a young age, Joyce recognized the value of her elders’ advice. As she continued to seek guidance from others, she discovered another resource for support – Educate!. Her experience as an Educate! Scholar has inspired Joyce to become even more dedicated to her studies and to the thoughtful planning of her future. She is currently seeking out scholarships offered by other non-profit organizations, which would allow her to further her studies.