Edison (on the left) is one of two students for whom MCF has made secondary school possible. For four years, he and Joram (on the right) have been our pioneer secondary school beneficiaries who just recently completed their secondary school exams and are now headed to “higher” or the last two years of high school.
This story is about Edison; his story illustrates the depth of MCF’s reach as a community program committed to bringing change at many different levels.
was a primary six student in one of the first MCF partner schools in 2009. Orphaned an at early age, Edison moved to the village of Nyakijumba to live with his aunt and attended a government school set on the side of a road. If you or I approached the school, a first impression would be just how dangerously it is nestled close to a thoroughfare that runs from Mbarara to Kabale town with cars, buses, trailers, and cyclists all zooming past the tiny school.
Edison, as one of the beneficiaries when the program started in 2009 with the commencement of a porridge program, was part of a 192 student body. There was no running water in the school. The cooking program relied on ‘water fetchers’ to provide all the water from a stream about 1.5 miles away to cook the porridge and wash all the utensils. The water fetchers proved unreliable, sometimes not showing up when it rained for instance. On one such day, Edison’s aunt who had been hired as a cook asked Edison to go and fetch water before school hours. He rose at about 5 am that morning and went off to fetch the water. By the time the school bell rang, he had fetched enough water for the entire cooking day and was in his uniform ready for school!
His aunt suggested the MCF pay him a stipend to provide the water. The stipend of $10 per month would help him buy books , shoes, pencils and a mathematical set. For the next two years Edison did all the water fetching for the program at his school. Edison worked, fetching water, and never missed a day, rain or shine. If necessary, he made arrangements for someone else to help him or fill in.
In 2011, Edison sat for his PLE exams and passed well! MCF, impressed with how studious he was, how committed he was to the program, and just how hard he had worked during the school year to pass the exams, offered him the first secondary school scholarship: the Global Fellows Program, which consists of a leadership training program. In this program, MCF works to ‘expand horizons’ and mentor fellows to help them break from their limited tribal borders and learn to appreciate the diverse country that Uganda is.
With “Expanding Horizons,” Edison has traveled to over 10 Ugandan towns, learning about 5 different tribes of peoples who differ from his own. He has visited industry centers, mines, Uganda’s parliament, the premier University of Uganda, and will this year travel internationally for the first time.
Today, Edison sits for his “O” level exams. Compare “O” level to Grade 10 at the end of middle school. We know his resolve and we expect him to do well. MCF will then embark upon the journey to ensure that he completes his secondary school and enter a university to obtain a college degree. Edison aspires to become an engineer.
MCF is committed to providing scholarships for aspiring youths like Edison that show great promise. He will start an internship in a few weeks during his long vacation.
We wish him well.