Growing up, I had a dream to be a president some day and change everyone’s life. Young as I was, I hoped I could spread hope and expand everyone’s life options. But I was so constrained; I could hardly afford a good education. With my family, we struggled through thick and thin.

My uncle worked tirelessly to meet our basic needs. Me and my brother had been placed in quite a rural school in my community. At the age of 12, my uncle told me that I should never dream of being a president. He believed that it was only an opportunity for the highly privileged. He told me to think of civil engineering as the career for me.

I had no choice but to follow the orders. I believed that this was best for me. I studied so hard and by the end of the primary level of education, I emerged the best student in Uganda. I was featured in newspapers and had some sort of clout – everyone celebrating my achievement. However, I was egregiously worried. I was afraid because my uncle could not afford my secondary school education.

I had no plans; I had lost hope. All my dreams and ambitions were falling apart.

I was blessed to find a scholarship with a charity organization – Children of Grace. This changed my life. I was able to study in one of the best schools in Uganda, performing incredibly well. Later, I was supported to join one of the best leadership universities in Africa and am still studying.

I was given a second chance to pursue my dreams and I found a passion in youth leadership and community development. This was against my uncle’s career vision for me. But with financial support from the sponsors, he supported me in this dream. Much as the dream of being president is still far in the tunnel, I am on the right track of creating an impact in my community.

I have grown to work with global organizations like the UN, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and MasterCard Foundation, closely galvanizing communities to raise hope and expand everyone’s life options. This was the dream I had when I was growing up.

I am only one of many lucky young people that have had this support. Without the sponsorship, I would have joined hundreds of millions of young people who are being inhibited, unable to afford school, or even directed to pursue careers so far from what they want due to lack of finances to access a good quality education.

Patrick Karekezi– African Leadership University, member AOEF Youth Advisory Council | Young Friends of AOEF


Come alongside us and spread hope through education!