Y.E.S. Uganda has many African orphans who have finished schooling and are living independently in their respective communities. Several are nurses, some are secretaries, while others are now working in tourism. Y.E.S. Uganda also has children who have become mechanics and electricians, welders and brick layers and one has become an agriculturalist. Over 1000 kids have graduated since the ministry's inception. Here are just three success stories of children from the program who have triumphed.
1. Moses Magezi, was an orphan who knew no personal history. He was found in water rushing down the side of the road during a thunderstorm. He was pulled out and given to a lady in the hospital who had just lost her own baby. She called him Moses and he called her Gran for grandmother. At the age of 7 he was given to an army man to assist with washing and cooking. When Moses was 9 the dad in the sight of Moses pulled his gun and killed a woman. The dad was taken to prison and Gran took Moses back. His Gran had no money and lived 7 miles away from school. Moses wanted schooling so much that he promised to sweep all the classrooms before school to earn fees.
Moses became part of the program. His school fees were paid and he could live near school. After senior 6 he worked for the program for 8 months while applying to universities. He was accepted to a medical university in Ukraine and his donor in California accepted to continue assisting him there.
Now 5 years later he is a doctor, he has married a Ukrainian lady and they are expecting their first child in April. He has accepted Christ as his savior and he reads the Bible. Thanks to his own persistence and the help of Y.E.S. Uganda Moses Magezi has become not only a personal success, but an inspiration to many children facing the same struggles he once did.
2. Rose Katwesige is the last born of 13 kids. Her dad died when she was 5 and her mother was already weak from having so many kids and a difficult life. Rose grew sleeping on a dirt floor with no blanket and shared the space with many other kids. She never received enough food because at dinner time - they ate once a day - the food was placed on a banana leaf and who ever pushed and grabbed got the most. She admits stealing neighbor's food at times as well as taking food from a dump near a boarding school because of the poverty she lived in. Rose was the only child who wanted an education and she fought to get it. She did any small job like carrying water from the swamp to older people, finding firewood for people and any other small job she could do. She managed to make it through all of primary school that way but she could not manage the larger fees for secondary school, so she went to work for an Indian family in order to make the necessary money. After a year, Rose came back with enough to start senior 1 at a Catholic school where the sisters took pity on her by assisting with some fees and needs if she worked weekends and after school for them. That is what she was doing when she came to Y.E.S. Uganda as she started her senior 2. She was able to finish her secondary school and also a secretarial school. After finishing her schooling Rose searched for work but was confronted many times. For the last 6 years, Rose, who also accepted Christ as her Saviour, has been working for Y.E.S. Uganda and is an absolutely integral part of the daily running of the organization.
3. Robert Baguma is a graduate of Mukono Christian University outside of Kampala, and is now working as a secondary teacher in Fort Portal. He was one of my first orphans and came into the program in 1998 as a senior one in school. His parents had been killed by dictator Milton Obote's soldiers when he was 5 years old and his grandmother was shot in her knees at the same time. When Robert entered the Y.E.S. Uganda program, he was living with his crippled, elderly grandmother along with six other siblings and cousins. As the oldest child, Robert spent much of his time caring for his grandmother. Robert was always a very well behaved student and very honest and hard working. He appreciated everything that was done for him and was never one to complain about anything. He is a very popular teacher in his school with a bright future.
4. Peter Nyakahuma - Brother of St. Joseph The Worker and Primary schoolteacher. Peter lost both parents to AIDS when he was 9 and his sister was left to take care of him. When Peter was 11, his sister married and her husband refused to have Peter stay with them. Turned out alone, he found a storage room off the house of the Anglican Bishop's driver and was allowed to stay there. He managed to buy food and clothes by doing many odd jobs around the diocese for the different priests. He was 13 years old when I met him and had just finished with his primary education but wanted badly to continue school. We then took him into the program. Through many ups and downs, he managed to finish senior 4 and continued into a teacher's training school. When he graduated from the program, he continued on his own to become a brother in the Catholic Church, where he felt called. He calls me Mom and has become a young man we are all proud of.