Photo by Kevin McLaughlin
Innocent, A Spirit of Resilience, is a true story about a boy from Uganda. At a young age he recognized the wonderful opportunity he had to attend school as he saw many children who could not afford the fees.
At seven years old war came to his village. His family was able to stay safe by hiding in the bush but two of his cousins were abducted. For several years after the attack, the school day was shortened. Students had to arrive late and leave early to ensure their safety.
At ten years old he was abducted by the rebellion army. After two long months, he managed to escape. Though he had been through unimaginable trauma, he vowed to dedicate his life to helping others who had been abducted.
He missed his fifth grade year at school because of the war but studied on his own at a night center and was able to pass his Primary Leaving Exams and move on to secondary school.
Like our students, his family had no money for secondary school but knew that his education was the only way to bring them out of poverty. They all worked extra hard to raise the funds for him to enroll. Once at school, he was able to lay bricks to help cover the tuition fees.
A year later he was discovered by a nonprofit that helped connect him with a sponsor in Uganda's capital city that paid for him to attend a boarding school.
During school he would save his snacks and sell them to his friends so he could save money to bring back home. On school breaks, he continued to lay bricks in his village to help pay for his sister's tuition.
He knew the value of education and worked hard in school. He was in the top five students in his class and scored in the top ten percent in all of Uganda on his year end exams.
He stayed at that school for four years before being accepted into a more elite school for his last two years. The competition at this school was much tougher. He would get up at three in the morning so he could study before breakfast at seven.
He never forgot that he wanted to help others and after graduating he became a peer mentor for other children who had gone through similar situations.
He was accepted to Kampala International University to study Economics and Applied Statistics with a scholarship from the same non-profit who had helped him in secondary school.
Though his tuition was paid for, he was responsible for transportation, books, groceries, class worksheets and getting clean water.
After graduating university, he got a job as a mentor for a program that helped impoverished students go to school.
His next goal in life is to get a masters degree and obtain a leadership position in Uganda so he can make changes to help his fellow Ugandans.
Innocent, like our students, was born into difficult circumstances but through education he was able to turn it all around. His story shows what a difference education can make in a young life.
We’re big fans of his story here because this could be the story of any of our students. One with a tough past but a bright future.
You can learn more about the book here: innocentthebook.com
Written by Stefanie Harris, Founder/President of One World Tuition