When riots shut down one student’s school, he came to HFC for help. You won’t believe what he’s doing now.
I received the following letter from Josh, one of our most senior HFC Uganda employees, regarding one of our students, Hilary lubwama.
“I met [Hilary] when he had lost hope for school due to riots that used take place at [his school] .. that led to poor performance in the year 2011 for the senior six and senior four. He was among the senior six students who got poor grades.”
The first time I read Josh’s letter, I wasn’t phased by the report of riots. Riots are, unfortunately, one of the only effective responses to injustice in a corrupt system. Here in Uganda we’ve gotten used to the “thump thump thump” of tear gas canisters. We know the smell and reflexively look for an upwind escape route when things start spinning out of control.
In a first-world mentality, it’s hard to imagine a scenario like this. Riots. Tear gas. But for Hilary lubwama, this was the least of his worries. His family had worked impossibly hard to raise the money for his school fees, and he wanted to make them proud. But now, riots had shut down the school. Teachers bailed, and just like that, the money was gone. You read that right. No refunds.
I wasn’t a motivated kid. If this had happened to me, I’d be dancing in the streets. But Hilary wanted to be in school. For most Ugandan kids, going to school is a dream come true and this was obviously a shattering blow for Hilary. Demotivated, and likely low on cash, his family could only encourage him to take what little training they could afford.
Josh continued his letter:
“I talked to [his mother] about the center and how he can have hope for further school; he came [to] the center to look at the place where by he gained interest.
He [took] Office Applications [and] did well [giving him] hope to go for further school.”
I loved this. Josh got to Hilary by talking to his mother about our Computer Training Center, and Hilary came to check it out. Like most Ugandans, Hilary loved the place. It was clean, it was bright and the price was right. Hilary jumped at the opportunity and did well, earning an Office Applications certificate. Just like that, he had leapfrogged ahead of his peers, most of whom would never touch a computer. Clearly, his motivation had returned and the future was looking bright.
I would be happy with this story if it ended here. It’s a clear trajectory shift, and in this messed up country with it’s tear gas riots and completely corrupted system, that tiny shift can be hard to come by. But this wasn’t the end of the story.
“When I traveled to Kampala and I met him [he was] very happy doing ICT at Makerere Business Institute.”
This was an even better ending. Makerere is one of the most prestigious schools in all of East Africa. Students flock in from neighboring countries often leaving a more advanced, mature and stable environment to enter the halls of Makerere. Not only that, but Hilary was enrolled in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) program. His interest in computers had blossomed.
This was a huge step, and exactly what we strive for with the HFC Computer Training Center. For us, this was our dream come true. And if the transformation from high-school “drop out” to high-tech university student wasn’t enough, our story was about to get even better, as Josh wrapped up his letter:
“Due to the knowledge he got [at HFC] was able to be the best in class.”
Hilary lubwama had every reason to give up. The odds were not in his favor. The system he relied on worked actively against him. Although the riots and corruption had dampened his spirits and had all but given up, we gave him the nudge he needed at exactly the right time to advance to a high-tech degree program in the country’s most prestigious university and rise to the head of his class.
I’m proud of Josh and the other members of our HFC Uganda staff who are working every day to beat the odds stacked against our students. I’m proud of the students who have the determination and drive to overcome these astounding odds. And I’m proud of the community of donors and volunteers, especially to Art of Exploitation (AoE™) who has fully sponsored the Computer Training Center this past six months and without whom this success story would not have been possible.
On behalf of the staff and students of HFC Uganda, we offer our most sincere thanks for a job well done!
Click here to read about Art of Exploitation (AOE™) training, who are Training the Cyber Defenders of Tomorrow. The AoE curriculum provides focused training to aspiring cyber experts. Students will learn and experience offensive Computer Network Operations (CNO) in a safe and reliable environment. AoE allows students to choose a field of study that will build on and advance the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in their chosen career paths.