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  • Writer's pictureimartinc

Succeeding Against All Odds: Jennifer's Story

Updated: Feb 17, 2020

To address the challenges of poor exam performance of schools in West Nile at primary level, Nile Care selected two pilot primary schools to implement a program of tutoring in primary seven, and scholarship for students that do well in Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE).

Nile Care has so far offered ten scholarships to girl students attending good high schools that have records of sending students to universities. These scholarships amount to $10,000, in which each girl receives $1,000.00 for four years. Of all the girls who have won Nile Care scholarships, Jennifer Onzia (pictured below), who sat PLE in November of 2014, was the best; yet she was possibly the poorest. She had an aggregate score of 14, missing Division 1 (where students are taken first to High School) by two points. The aggregates range from 4 to 36 (the lower the better). Below is Jennifer’s story.

Jennifer before admission to High School

Jennifer comes from a real rural home, made of mud and grass thatch with no address, no electricity, and no running water. She used light from a small metal can filled with kerosene and fitted with a weak to study, and many times there was no kerosene.

Otaria Reading Lamp for most kids Jennifer’s’ father and mother do not have a monthly monetary income because they are both unemployed; and none of her siblings is. Her mother carries firewood on her head to sell in Arua town, seven miles away, for a little money for survival. Jennifer walked to Aroi primary school barefoot, everyday and despite her conditions, she worked hard at school.

She sat for PLE knowing that she might not be able to go to high school unless she won he Nile Care scholarship. After receiving her results and not sure that she had won Nile Care Scholarship, Jennifer went home as she did not have the money to go on to high school when school started. She went to stay with a relative in the slums of Arua town and registered in a poor day secondary school with no record of taking students anywhere beyond high school.

She slept on a papyrus mat with no blanket or sheet for cover.

Papyrus mat She went hungry for days because her relative was often not there when she arrived home from school. There were times when she would be locked out and would wait till the wee hours of the morning for the relative to return from wherever her day’s work took her. Because of these problems her attendance at school became irregular and her performance, poor.

Meanwhile, Nile Care staff determined that she was the winner of Nile Care scholarship and sent staff to look for her in the slums of Arua. In May 2015 staff member Mr. Garnard Orionzi,

eventually found her and took her to a boarding school, which has a strong record of sending girls to college. Without contribution from members and friends, Jennifer Onzia, the best performing girl, Aroi primary school, would have been doomed to life in the slums of Arua with serious moral and education implications.

Nile Care Scholarship program offers a lifeline to poor hardworking girls. Jennifer is safely

pursuing secondary school education in Ediofe Girls Secondary School. Please help to keep this dream alive for our poor girls whose parents may want to educate boys over girls.

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