Two students sponsored in school by Reach Out Mbuya have achieved top scores on their A-levels, the final examinations Ugandan high school students take before graduating from Senior 6 and moving to university.
Kato William, who lost his father to AIDS, was enrolled on school fees support when he was in P3. He scored 16. Kalyango Marvin, who scored 17, was also first enrolled in P3.
See Marvin’s inspiring story below:
Kalyango Marvin is well on his way to achieving his dream: attending medical school and becoming a pharmacist. The 19-year-old, who has been sponsored with school fees from Reach Out Mbuya since he was in primary school, recently achieved a high score of 17 out of 20 in his A-level exams.
Today, the adolescent is poised, confident in his abilities and hopeful for his future. He doesn’t show any signs of enduring a tough past. But his life has never been easy.
Marvin joined Reach Out Mbuya’s OVC (Orphans and Vulnerable Children) program in primary school (P3), after struggling through years of regular absence due to his family’s lack of money for school fees. While he was attending a government school, he would go to class during grace periods when school fees were temporarily reprieved and then miss school when the authorities demanded fees. During this time, Marvin’s three siblings also struggled with attending school.
Marvin’s father, who is HIV-positive, was eventually connected with Reach Out Mbuya where Marvin and his siblings were enrolled in the OVC program, sponsored with school fees and scholastic materials.
During his P6 year, Marvin joined ROM’s Exploring Talents Club, playing trumpet in the brass band. He said he really enjoyed performing in the band at weddings, graduations, school and sports days. The band was a good and safe way of spending his leisure time, and he made a lot of new friends, he said.
When Marvin first joined his A-levels, he asked himself if he should continue with school or go for a vocational course.
“I decided to try my luck in school,” he said. “I knew that I could make it. I had that confidence in myself.”
Years later, as he now finishes his A-levels at the top of his class, Marvin attributes his scholastic success to God, his parents, Reach Out, and his own hard work and effort. Reach Out counselors that visited him in school helped him build his confidence, he said.
Next year, Marvin hopes to go to medical school at Makerere University to study pharmacy. He has always wanted to become a doctor, and now is the time for him to work toward his dream.
“When I was young, they would ask me, ‘In the future what do you want to be? I would say “doctor, doctor” not knowing that it would be something I would fight for. And this guy Ben Carson, he motivates me,” Marvin said.
“I want to encourage youth out there that they should not give up. They can be whatever they want, no matter their situation. They just need to be focused, determined and hardworking,” Marvin added.