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Determined to Succeed Against All Odds

Updated: Apr 25

In 2015, we brought you the story of Jennifer Onzia, the record setting girl from Aroi Primary School, one of Nile Care Education Program schools in West Nile region of Uganda. To date (2024), Jennifer’s Primary Leaving Examination (PLE) record of 14 points has remained unbroken by any girl. You will recall the dire conditions under which she performed so well. You can find that story on our Website under “Stories”, Succeeding Against All Odds.

In this story we bring you the second phase of Jennifer’s story after four years of high school called “O” Level: how she continued to defy all odds to take herself beyond ‘O’ level.

In 2018, Jennifer completed her four-year ordinary level high school, passing with flying colors. As in the first story, there was no money for Jennifer to go on to the advanced level high school because Nile Care only helps girls up to the four years of ordinary level high school. To be able to go to university, Jennifer needed two years of advanced level high school (A-Level) that is more expensive. According to her parents, Jennifer had finished school, and their attention was then focused on her younger siblings. Jennifer refused to accept that she was done with school and wanted more. She talked to anybody how she could get money to join A-level. Of the many pieces of advice she was given, one was doable. “Walk to as many NGO offices as you can and present your case to them.”

There are a number of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) in West Nile, and Jennifer went from one to the next, “I want to go to A level and on to University” she pleaded with them. She was turned down for various reasons. “We only help refugee children, and since you are not a refugee, we are sorry” some told her. Others told her that they only deal with the environment, not Education.

After many such regrets, Jennifer finally landed on a Master Card scholarship sponsored through an NGO called BRAC that operates in Uganda. BRAC offered Jennifer a two-year scholarship that enabled her to join St. Michael’s High School for A level in 2021 to study History, Entrepreneurship, Geography and ICT. In 2022, Jennifer sat for her A level exams and obtained three principal passes and two subsidiary passes and an aggregate of 9 points, which more than qualified her for University admission.

However, Jennifer could not join Muni University where she was offered a place. The usual problem – money- could not let her claim the place. What did she do?

Jennifer is a fighter. She applied for Government Scholarship and was told that it is only for students going to study science. After trying most of the scholarship offering bodies and failing to get any, Jennifer decided to look for a job to raise her university fees of $3000 so that she could join Muni University to study Business or Education to become a teacher. For the whole of 2013, that job eluded her. Jennifer then decided to enroll as a maid/house-help, working at $25 per month, to raise her university education costs. Soon it became clear that this was not workable. At this rate, she would have to work for 10 years to raise the $3000 needed now. By that time, the cost of university education would have gone much higher, possibly doubled.

So, in December of 2023, Jennifer came back to West Nile to try other means of getting this money. She reached out to Nile Care Education Director for help. This is why I am writing this story, to appeal to you and well wishers, to help Jennifer raise this money so that she can realize her dream of university education.

Please make your donations via Zelle or PayPal on our website. Is you use Zelle, please send funds to 708.466.6685. Please mark your donation for Jennifer's Muni University Fund.

Chadri E’yoa Executive Director, Nile Care.

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