I WANT TO WORK HARD AND CREATE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE YOUTH IN PADER
Lemokol Felix Adupe, aged 25 is from Pader district, Pajule town council. He is currently in year 3, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Bio-social Engineering at Gulu University. Felix, grew-up in a family of 20 children with different mothers but same father, and other adopted children. He’s an orphan, and a first-born child who lost a mother in 2013 and father in 2019
As a result of the challenges, he was facing since childhood, Felix sat for his Primary 7 in Pajule town council; he didn’t perform well and scored 3rd grade. When he joined secondary school, ‘O’ level, he performed well as he scored 1st grade despite the poor rural school he was at – lacking text books and teachers. He attributes this performance to, hard work, personal struggle, determination and guidance received from people in his community, “I was the first person to get a 1st grade in that school and I left a legacy there.”
After staying home for one year due to lack of school fees, he finally secures a scholarship to join A’ level. A good Samaritan, school proprietor/head teacher neighboring us in the village accepted to pay my fees for ‘O’. In return, I had to mold bricks which were used to construct other buildings in the school in addition to doing some other domestic works. This was because I was brilliant, committed and hard working yet disadvantaged.
At A’ level, I scored 12 points, but the future was blick as I missed joining University on Government sponsorship. I could not enroll for engineering, which was my dream course; I was inspired by ‘Dr. Hillary Onek’ a former state for Finance, whom I had watched on TV. The situation was worsened by my poor family back ground, where I could not enroll under the private scheme at University. I was hopeless, got stranded, and just returned home to look for what to do, make myself busy during vacation than just idling and joining bad peer groups.
I remained home praying and hoping to further my studies some day. Amidst difficult challenges, I am always motivated by my names, Lemokole means ‘pray for life’ and Adupe ‘God is with you’. These in addition to the slogan that says “good things follow a living man, not a dead man.” Keep me moving despite in situation I am facing. As I pondered my next move, I started teaching ‘O’ in four different schools; Pader College, Pader Girls Academy, Pader Comprehensive and the school I studied my ‘O’ at; this was a result of my better performance at both ‘O’ and ‘A’ level. This is where the news about the FAWE – Mastercard scholarship found me.
The news about the scholarship from the District Education Officer (DEO), got me, when I was working very hard to raise money to pay for my tuition at university “My plan was to work hard for 2 years, join university for an Education course” but FAWE U rescued me, and that’s how my dream as an engineer was saved. I immediately rushed to the DEO’s office and was guided on how to apply, which I did. As a result, I was admitted to both Mbarara University of Science and Technology for Education and Gulu University for Engineering, and I opted for the latter.
Until this point, throughout my life time, I had suffered chronic financial challenges, and always needed funds to sustain my life and family. And because of the financial support and the Extended Orientation Program (EOP) – specifically on financial literacy we received from FAWEU, I decided to save and used part of the money and proceeds from other projects to build an iron sheets house. “We have never had any iron-sheet roofed house in our village home.” One time we suffered greatly, during holidays, after harvesting food, when fire gutted the grass thatched house and everything burnt to ashes. “We suffered for a whole year lacking what to eat and barely survived. This motivated me to work hard and decided to construct a three-bed roomed iron-sheet house.
This dream was made reality by contribution from different projects including; the drugs shop I opened and currently employing my brother, opened a mobile money business, engaged in farming – growing food crops on 2 acres of land (beans, maize and soya beans) which we use for both subsistence and commercial purpose. I too grow sunflower and get cooking oil for selling, and onions for feeding at home. I too rear chicken on a free-range system that generates for me some little money. I too use the proceeds from these enterprises to support pay school fees for my siblings. Most of the money, I get invest it in agriculture, and the profits from there sustain me, whole semester at school. I am currently planning to open a standard restaurant in Pader district as most of them are sub standard “These have helped create employment opportunities for the most of the youth who have dropped out of school, improving their condition. I am inspired to work hard because I don’t get money from anywhere but from the things I do personally to support myself, and those around.
After school, I am committed to doing the same, to create a job for myself. I too dream of creating a unique engineering project in Pader following the knowledge I have acquired in it, to support address some pressing community needs in my village including provision of safe and clean water.
Today, I attribute all I have achieved to FAWE and Mastercard foundation. Without them, I don’t know where I could be now. I have searched for words in the dictionary to appreciate them but have failed to get “My life wouldn’t be the same if it wasn’t for the two. It’s now clearer that through FAWEU I will achieve my dreams of becoming an engineer.” All I ask from FAWE Uganda is to continue supporting the needy and vulnerable children out there. Since FAWEU supported me, I too promise to extend the helping hand to other less privileged children. I appreciate the work of FAWE Uganda and upon completion of my studies, I want to work hard and support FAWE Uganda establish another office branch in Pader district to help uplift the standard of education here. I am very proud of myself and so grateful to FAWEU for having considered me.
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