Meet Oyella Delis, who lives in Agwata and is one of our current P-7 students who is attending the closest government primary school which is over 4 km away.
Oyella has achieved in spite of all odds, and we’re proud of her for this. Oyella exemplifies the type of student our Girls’ Education Initiative seeks to help. She’ll be almost 16 years old when she completes her primary level studies in December.
The internal war with the LRA delayed her education which is why she will be almost 16 when completing what is the U.S. equivalent of 6th grade. She lives with her mother and three younger siblings in a thatched grass hut. Her father abandoned the family years ago. Oyella walks over 4 km to school (one way) each day.
She loves school and says English is her favorite subject. She would like to become a teacher one day and even come back to teach in Agwata. Oyella is lucky compared to many girls in Agwata. Her mother is very supportive of her getting an education.
When we quizzed Oyella on how she was able to excel in school compared to other girls in our target group, two factors stood out. First, her mother gave her time to study each day when she arrived home from school, and she did not have to do much housework or cooking on school evenings. This contrasted sharply with the other 18 girls (in our 2010 target group) who had to fetch water, watch younger siblings and cook dinner when they arrived home from school. Often these other girls would be so exhausted by the time they finished their chores, that they simply would go to bed because they had to get up early the next morning and start the whole process over.
The second most important differentiating factor was Oyella herself. When you meet Oyella you can see and feel her intensity, determination and devotion. According to her mother, “Oyella is very devoted in everything she does, with others, with her family and with her studies.”
Outreach Uganda has found a sponsor for Oyella to be able to continue her studies in 2013 at a good secondary level boarding school. We are still seeking other sponsors who could begin to mentor other P-5 and P-6 girls. We have learned that if these girls are to successfully complete their national exams at the end of P-7 and be focused on continuing their education, then we need to support them when they are much younger. Otherwise, they’ll become discouraged and drop out long before reaching P-7.
Slowly but surely, things are changing in Agwata. We see parents becoming more nurturing and more supportive of girls’ education. Please consider partnering with us as a sponsor in this joint endeavor, or please consider making a contribution to our building fund at the nearby Agwata school which is a partnership effort between Outreach Uganda and the Agwata community. A third class block is needed in order to add a P-6 in early 2013, and a P-7 class in early 2014.