ASSET’s third beneficiary is an extremely hardworking young man who has overcome great odds to make it through primary and secondary school and has finally been able to enroll in Makerere University to get a college education. His Name is Joseph W and this is his profile.

Name: Joseph W

Age: 21

Name of school / Institution currently attended: Makerere University Kampala

Portion of program completed: Bachelor of Population Studies – 1st year

We interviewed Joseph recently and this is what he had to say:

ASSET: Tell us about your family and upbringing.

Joseph W: Currently, I have only one of my parents; my mother. My father died in 2001 leaving behind 8 children. I am the 2nd last born. My mother is not employed but she sells vegetables in the market. She is HIV positive and is currently on anti-retro viral treatment, which she gets free from Joint Clinical Research Centre in Mengo. Most of my siblings are out of school due to school fees problems. My baby sister is currently in her Senior 6 vacation.

ASSET: How far have you gone in your education?

Joseph W: I attended 3 secondary schools because the school fees kept increasing. In Senior 4, I got aggregate 33 and in Senior 6, 12 points. I majored in History, Economics, Divinity and Art. I am currently studying at Makerere University and working towards a Bachelors degree in Population Studies.

ASSET: Describe your educational goals.

Joseph W: I want to finish my Bachelors degree. If I can get funding, I would like to get a masters degree in population studies. There is a government scholarship for high performing students that I am targeting.

ASSET: Describe your career goals.

Joseph W: I would like to work with Uganda Electoral Commission or the Ministry of Finance. These organizations interest me because my field of study deals with these organizations. I would also like to go in to business to help society. Plan International helped me in primary school but when I grew older, he aid was suspended. I too would like to help others.

ASSET: How do you think this scholarship will help you achieve these goals?

Joseph W: This scholarship will help me to meet tuition and housing payments. I currently live in Mpererwe, which is about 5 miles from the city, and this makes for a very tough commute. Living close to the university campus will help my academic performance since I will be able to spend less time getting to class and to the library and more time studying.

ASSET: Why do you think you are a good candidate for an ASSET scholarship?

Joseph W: I think I am a good candidate because I have achieved some education and I am now trying to achieve one just one more level of training before I can competitively look for employment and support my family. If I don’t finish what I have started, it will be a big loss for my family and I. I am a hardworking student and am currently working at an organization called Chrisams Designs; ironing clothes.

When school starts, I get to work at 8am and leave at 2pm. I try to stay organized by keeping a timetable. I do research and course work at night and try to always be prepared for class. I also look after some farm animals at home and try to help my mother around the house.

ASSET: What other financial support do you receive for your studies?

Joseph W: I have been helped with small loans / grants from family members and this is how I paid for my first semester.

ASSET: Provide an estimate of the financing you need to get back on the path to completing your study program

Joseph W: At beginning of year, we pay UGX 800,000 tuition. In the second
semester we pay UGX 600,000. Housing on average costs 250,000UGX per semester.

ASSET: Describe a challenge that you have faced in the past and what you did to overcome it.

Joseph W: In primary school, Plan International helped to pay my tuition. However, I needed books and other requirements that had not been provided but did not have the money to acquire these things. I started to fetch water from the borehole to supply different people and was paid for my services. This allowed me to get some money to buy what I needed. My Mum did not make any money and I didn’t want to burden her with these challenges. She provided shelter and food and I felt she was doing enough. Now to help meet university expenses, I work at Chrisams Designs, a job I got after I applied and was employed as casual laborer.

ASSET: What are your interests? What do you do in your free time?

Joseph W: I like music (hip hop, etc) and football (Chelsea) and watching football. Have read World Apart.