The Rukundo International Scholars Program provides scholarships to high-performing students from rural areas who would otherwise be unable to continue their education, due to financial hardships. The Scholars Program, under the direction of our Social Worker, strives to meet not only the educational needs of our students, but also their physical, spiritual, and emotional needs. Our Scholars are required to attend Holiday Retreats, where they receive additional training and mentorship, as well as spiritual guidance. In addition, Scholars are required to complete two student-led community service projects per year, to foster and encourage community involvement. Educational progress is closely monitored, and healthy home environments are encouraged by assisting caregivers.
AGE 21, NURSING SCHOOL
Angela passed her Senior 4 Exams with the highest score, Division 1, after graduating from Cleverland High School in Kabale. She is a total orphan, having lost both parents to HIV. She and her siblings were left to live with their aging grandmother. Her two younger brothers left home because there was no food and upkeep. Angela persevered through all the challenges and remained with her grandmother. She helped her grandmother dig in other people’s gardens in order to get food and school requirements. Her passion for school was so high that she remained at the top of her class, despite her family background. She was picked by her sponsor at a time when she had given up on school after working very hard to sponsor herself, but in vain. She has continued to be among the best-performing students in her class, and is currently in nursing school to follow in the footsteps of her late uncle.
AGE 14, PRIMARY 7
Bridget is a single orphan, having lost her mother when she was only seven years old. She and her younger brother were left under the care of her step-mother, who has two girls and three boys of her own. With seven children in the house, there was little hope for Bridget attending a good school, despite her excellent performance. With the help of Rukundo International, she is now enrolled at Child Africa Junior School and she wants to become a nurse when she graduates.
AGE 23, SECOND YEAR-LAST SEMESTER FASHION & DESIGN
Doreen is the fourth born in a family of nine. Her mother depends on small-scale farming and helping in other people’s gardens to provide for their large family. After completing primary seven, Doreen stayed home with her mother because she lacked school fees to enroll in secondary (high) school. She persevered through many trials and remained an obedient girl even when the situation at home was not favorable. Through the Rukundo International Secondary Scholars Program, she graduated Senior 6 at Hornby High School, and is now enrolled at Sparkles Institute in Kampala for Fashion and Design. After graduation, she will become a tailor.
AGE 21, VOCATIONAL GRADUATE
Esther lost her father at the young age of 6. After the death of her father, her mother began bringing around other men and mistreating Esther and her siblings. The mother and her men sold off all the family property that the father had worked hard for, and as a result, Esther and her siblings began struggling to make ends meet. As the oldest child in her family, she has often taken on the role of caretaker for her five younger siblings. Though Esther was the top performing student in her class during the second and final, term of Primary Level 7, she never completed primary school. She states, “I lacked scholastic materials, and I was the one who was buying for myself my needs.”
After dropping out of school, Esther traveled to the capital city of Uganda, Kampala, to attempt to make a living wage. She worked several odd jobs including a shop hand, house maid, and poultry keeper. After contracting malaria, she was forced to return home to Kabale, eventually helping her aunt in a hotel in exchange for food and board.
Through the Rukundo International Scholars Vocational Program, Esther has now completed her course in salon and beauty at God’s Mercy Salon in Kabale. Being a hard-working student, she has been retained by that company, where she is currently full-time employee of God’s Mercy Salon. She has a vision of starting her own salon to provide for her mother, two brothers, and three step sisters.
AGE 20, NURSING SCHOOL
Although Evelyn has both parents, she has suffered from domestic violence in her family. Her father abandoned the family to alcohol, leaving all of the burden on her mother, who is left taking care of a large family with very limited resources. Evelyn had no hopes of joining secondary school because she knew her mother could not afford school fees. She has experienced many trials and challenges, but has always remained a good student. She excelled in final exams to be admitted to Senior Five. Through the Rukundo International Scholars Program, Evelyn completed her final year at Kabale Brainstorm High School studying Biology, Agriculture, Chemistry and Sub-Math’s (BAC). She is currently attending vocational school, and hopes to become a nurse.
AGE 18, NURSING SCHOOL
Gift loves netball (volleyball), fellowship and preaching at church, and caring for young children. She serves in her church’s choir. Gift came to Rukundo after not having been in school for over a year. She is currently studying midwifery at Rugarama School of Nursing. In the future, Gift wants to be a midwife, so she can help mothers that are suffering during childbirth. She aspires to be successful in her career, so she can give back to other young girls. She wants to take the goodwill of funding that has been given to her and help support other children with their schooling when she becomes a midwife. She understands the pain of wanting to go to school but being unable to due to financial hardship.
AGE 22, SECOND YEAR DRIVING AND MECHANICS
Isaac is a total orphan, meaning he has lost both of his parents. His parents died of HIV, leaving him with a big role of taking charge of family responsibilities. He currently stays at home with his younger brother. His older brother left home for temporary work to earn a living for the family. Isaac completed Senior 4 at Bubare Secondary School. He is currently enrolled in a vocational institute for a driving and mechanics course.
AGE 7, PRIMARY LEVEL 3
Jiora lives with his mother and younger sister in a small house on the outskirts of Kabale town. His father abandoned the family for an unknown destination and left them in a rented house. His mother is physically handicapped, having use of only one leg. In addition, she is HIV positive. She learned tailoring from a friend, which is how she currently earns a living. Jiora is now in Primary Level 3 at Life Bridge Nursery and Primary School. Jiora tells his mum that he wants to become an engineer.
AGE 15, SENIOR 3
Joel is a total orphan. His mother passed away when he was very young, and the family was raised by the father. The father loved the children very much and always tried his best to work hard and provide for them. The father was an evangelist and poultry farmer, who served the Lord with passion until he passed away. Joel has two brothers, two sisters, and one adopted sister. Joel’s father had promised him that he would take him to a good secondary school after Primary 7, but unfortunately he passed shortly before the Primary 7 results were released. The death of the father was a u-turn in the family life cycle. His father’s poultry farm, which was the source of income to the family, declined. Joel now stays with his two brothers and their adopted sister who now perform most of the parental roles in providing for the family needs. Through the Rukundo International Scholars Program, Joel has fulfilled his father’s dream, which he also shares, of attending a good secondary school. He is currently in Senior 3 at Brainstorm High School and says he is now happy with a hope for a bright future.
Joshua & Joel
JOSHUA: AGE 10, PRIMARY 6
JORAM: AGE 9, PRIMARY 5
These brothers and their younger sister are total orphans, meaning they lost both parents, and currently live with their grandmother in a local village. Their parents both died of HIV. The boys were initially enrolled in a good private school before the passing of their Mum and Dad. Afterwards, Joshua and his brother were forced to leave the school because their aging grandmother, though she desperately tried, could not afford their fees and upkeep. They are both bright students, and through the Rukundo International Primary Scholars Program, Joshua and Joram have been re-enrolled at Home Care Nursery and Primary School. Joshua wishes to become a doctor in the future to enable him to help his family and the community.
Mackline and Denis
MACKLINE: AGE 10, PRIMARY 65
DENIS: AGE 11, PRIMARY 7
Mackline, Denis, and their younger sister are from an extremely rural village in Kabale. They were raised amongst domestic violence, where the father was a drunkard, and mistreated their mother through various forms of abuse. The mother finally resorted to escaping home with the children to work as a housemaid for a family in Kabale, so that she could earn resources to look after the children. Their mother recently died, and they were left under the care of their aging grandmother, with no hope of ever going to school. The children walked many hours to seek help at Future Generation Primary School, where the Founder felt she had no choice but to take them in, and provide them with an education. She began seeking sponsors for the children, and they are now under the care of the RI Scholars Program. They are both bright students who love school. Denis says he will become a doctor in future, and Mackline a nurse.
AGE 23, THIRD YEAR CLINICAL MEDICINE PROGRAM
Merab completed her Senior Six exams, the highest level of secondary/high school, focusing on Chemistry, Biology, Agriculture and Sub-Maths (BAC). She performed well in all subjects. She was, however, unable to continue her education because her family was not able to pay the school fees for University. She missed securing a government scholarship narrowly, and as a result she remained at home. Merab is one of eight siblings. The family used their savings to pay for the oldest sister to continue schooling and “make something of herself,” to lift the rest of the family out of poverty, but unfortunately she died in August, 2015. Thanks to the Rukundo International Scholars Program, Merab is now enrolled in a Clinical Medicine course that will fulfill her big dream of becoming a Medical Doctor to help her family and community.
AGE 22, VOCATIONAL GRADUATE FASHION & DESIGN
Phionah, a single orphan, meaning she has lost one parent, completed primary school in 2012. Although she performed well in her Primary Leaving Exam (PLE), qualifying her to attend secondary school, she was unable to move on because she lacked school fees. Her mother is hard-working, but the family is too large for her limited resources. Phionah recently graduated from Shalom Vocational Institute she is currently completing an internship in tailoring.
AGE 14, SENIOR 2
Niwasiima Sheila was born to a teenage mother and an unknown father. Her mother later married another man and left Sheila under the care of her grandmother. Sheila lives with her grandmother and two young uncles in a rural village of Kabale. Amidst this, and despite studying from a rural school, Sheila remained a hard-working, bright student who earned first grade (the highest grade) on her primary leaving examinations, the test students take to graduate elementary school. Her grandmother was unable to provide school fees to continue Sheila’s secondary education, but with the support of Rukundo International, she is now enrolled in Senior 2 at Nyabikoni Secondary School, one of the best private secondary schools in Kabale-town. Her dream is to become a teacher in the future.
AGE 17, SENIOR 6
Mushemeza Samuel lost his father to HIV when he was only nine years old. His father was a government civil servant who loved his children very much, and had made sure they were enrolled in good schools. When Samuel’s father died, his life drastically changed. His HIV-positive mother was not in the position to take good care of the family, financially or otherwise. As a result, Samuel’s two elder sisters were married off at a young age. Their marriages both led to divorce, due to abuse. Both sisters ended up returning home to the sick mother, with children in tow. Sam received Scholarship, due to his good performance in school, up to Senior 4 level, but he was unable to secure fees for Senior 5 to continue his education. With the support of the Rukundo International Scholars Program, Sam is now in Senior 6 at Kigezi High School. He is studying Biology, Chemistry, and Mathematics to reach his dream of becoming a doctor in the future.
Allan and Mercy
ALLAN: AGE 14, SENIOR 2
MERCY: AGE 15, SENIOR 2
Allan and Mercy are single orphans, having lost their father when they were still babies. Their mother is hardworking, but because of an infection in her uterus, she has recently become unable to work. This has created a challenge for her and the five children that make up their struggling family. The eldest sister was married off at a young age, but due to domestic violence, she is now divorced and has recently returned back home with a young baby in tow. Allan and Mercy walk a distance of nine kilometers every day to attend to a modern secondary school in town because their mother can not afford boarding school fees. This effort is a testament to how much they value their education. Allan aspires to became a teacher when he graduates. Mercy aspires to became a nurse when she graduates.