By Doreen Byonabye, Educate! Mentor
Doreen is currently in her final year of university and is a Mentor to over 120 students in three schools in Central Uganda.
All my life, I had admired accountants and wished to be like them one day. But after graduating from high school, I had lost hope that I could go to university to continue with my studies because I couldn’t pay the school fees. My dad told me he could not manage to pay millions of shillings every semester. Despite this, I was determined to achieve my dream, so I searched for a job that would allow me to save for university. I believed that with education I could move mountains.
Fortunately, I was hired at KAC Chemicals and Paints to work as a supervisor. With my high school diploma, I was supervising people older than me! I applied to Kyambogo University and took the first course that would enable me to achieve my dream of becoming an accountant.
I started working in the morning and studying in the evening. It was hectic, but since I was working for tuition I knew it was worth it. I was able to raise half of my tuition every semester, and this was supplemented by my dad’s contribution.
I had a passion for business and decided to become an Educate! Mentor in 2014. I was no longer able to balance my job and my studies, but Educate! believed in me and believed that I could change many lives while achieving my own dreams as a Mentor. Through the YBE (Youth Business Experience) training, I started a project making liquid soap. It looked impossible at the beginning due to many challenges in the industry, but I never gave up. I decided to market my products in hostels, to friends, on campus, and to local people. Six months later, I had made enough that I was able to invest some of the profits in another project, a piggery, to expand on my income generation. These projects now enable me to raise half of my school fees and meet my necessities every semester, as well as put a little bit of money in savings.
Throughout it all, I valued patience, endurance, commitment, overcoming challenges, networking, and reading books. Now I am finalizing my degree-- Bachelor’s of Science in Finance and Accounting, and I employ myself and other people in my projects.