Human-chain

Changing the world…one person at the time

This time I have a story to tell and a project associated to it.

A couple of years ago I was giving a speech in Kampala, Uganda for a SWIFT conference and I had the chance to meet a young student that for personal reasons had to find a job instead of keep studying. It was the only encounter outside the bankers of the conference and it was really nice to hear what local people life was made of.
Few months later, after staying in touch by email from time to time, the same person asked for my help. She got admitted at the Makelele University, in Kampala and needed help to pay the tuition for the campus.
500 dollars to rent a student room for the year and not having to commute from the other side of the town, virtually impossible with public transportation.
Despite the risk of scamming and having met that person only for 1 hour, I opted for trusting her. I was right.
2 years later, we decided to do something more.
For the Fintechstage conference, for 10 speakers joining the panels, we will finance 10 students of the University. I asked the person I trusted to become the coordinator of it.
We received many applications, here a few samples :
**An Optometric Student
My main reason of writing this mail is to apply for the student grant since am desperately in need of financial support as far as my education and future are concerned. When I was admitted for my course last year, I couldn’t qualify for the gov’t loan scheme and other scholarships since my course is a new one and unfamiliar to many. My father is a police officer and my mother is a peasant farmer.
Am the third born in a family of six children and the first family member to reach this far in education. Our first born got married without even finishing primary school and so she is illiterate. I sat UACE together with my other sister who is the second born but she is still at home waiting to continue with her education in the near future. 
In A-level I was sponsored by Invisible Children Uganda under the Legacy Scholarship program. They couldn’t continue supporting me since they are withdrawing their support from Uganda and shifting attention to Central African Republic (CAR). Fortunately my father was saving some money during the few months I was in vacation to help me start  the first semester. The tuition was paid in three different installments. Since the money wasn’t enough to cater for my accommodation, I was commuting from my uncle’s place in Nsambya the whole semester. 
As for this year, two of my siblings finished primary education last year and qualified for the next level. Together, they have joined my other sister in Gulu Secondary School. The rest of my family members are in Gulu since it is where my father is working.
  
**An Environmental Sciences student
 Am writing to apply for the study grant. I come from a family of five children ranking the fourth in position. My parents are farmers in mukono district and have been able to look after us through the years at school with difficulty and hardship to obtain our school fees. With the dynamics of the weather and the market for our produce from the garden, it’s been hard to raise school fees through the lower levels as well as tuition for my undergraduate degree. I have had to go through struggles with school fees even during my secondary and primary levels that greatly affected my performance. Last semester I managed to raise tuition through the sale of coffee that I collected during my vacation together with help of some relatives as well as my sister. With all these huddles that I had to go through to collect tuition for last semester it put me on tension and kept I worried about the future of my studies. During my holidays I have been working at Mukwano industry to raise some of my tuition and upkeep during the course of the semester though with the wages paid it was difficult to cater for my upkeep and tuition.
Some might say this is a still in the ocean, but it got me thinking a lot and I don’t mean the usual bullshit about how fortunate I am and not being thankful enough or realise it (which stay true, no doubts).
It made me think about FAIR CHANCES and how clumsy the word can get when it comes to being totally unbalanced.
One person at the time. 10 people will hopefully get closer to have a fair chance.
Stay tuned
Matteo

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