Join me in celebrating my 30th birthday by supporting the books drive for Laliya Primary school located in my hometown of Gulu - Northern Uganda.
As my 30th birthday approaches in a matter of days away, I can’t help but ask myself if ever I was able to make something out of life or rather life made something out of me. The thoughts of my involvement in the global world in giving a second chance to children whose childhoods have been taken away from them while creating a peaceful environment around every child for a healthy growth, gives me the brightest smile I could ever ask for. That smile is, however, often cut short when I ask myself the level of impact my activism have actually had on children. One thing I know I will never be able give enough of, is my love for children. I as well know that loving them alone won’t give them the future they deserves and that’s why I am here to ask for your help. Fund donated shall be directly transferred to the school head teacher who will then make book purchases along with the Library assistance.
On the 6th/02/1995 I was enrolled at the then mighty Laliya Primary School as a five years old kid. Full of excitement and pride to wear the school uniform in the colours that once my parents, Aunts and Uncles all worn. It was the feeling of accomplishment to start my school journey in this mighty school.
My name is Innocent Opwonya, a former primary school pupil at Laliya Primary School. I graduated my primary school in the year 2002 from where I went on to finish my six years of secondary school from Busoga College Mwiri, an all boys boarding school, before joining Kampala International University where I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics and Applied Statistics. During my high school semester breaks, I was deeply involved in peer mentoring and community development activities. These included, but not limited to, fundraising in the USA for the education of youths in my town under Invisible Children Organization, participation in youth’s farmers association for as a way to improve the livelihood of youths in my village.
As my 30th birthday approaches in a matter of days away, I can’t help but ask myself if ever I was able to make something out of life or rather life made something out of me. The thoughts of my involvement in the global world in giving a second chance to children whose childhoods have been taken away from them while creating a peaceful environment around every child for an healthy growth, gives me the brightest smile I could ever ask for but often that smile is cut short when I ask myself the level of impact my activism have actually had on children. One thing I know I will never be able give enough of, is my love for children. I as well know that loving them alone won’t give them the future they deserves and that’s why I am here to ask for your help.
After graduating University, I went back to my town where I worked/volunteered for Unified for Uganda organization as a mentor to thirty kids (mostly orphaned or children from abusive families). As a strong believer in education as the most efficient way to fight the vicious cycle of poverty in my town (country and the world over), I continued to speak up for youths on a global stage with a consistence message of education and a better life for children in war torn regions, having been a former child soldier myself.
Moving to Germany for my master’s degree did not stop me from doing what I am more passionate about. I volunteered for “Terres Des Hommes” and “World Vision” organization in their joined campaign against the use of child soldiers.
I couldn’t be more proud in the things I do and belief in, but one thing I know for sure is that I am way far from the finish line. I took a summer vacation home (in Gulu – Uganda) to spend time with my family in and among the many exciting activities I had on mine, the top of my list was to pay a visit to the very school where my parents first met as kids and later I enrolled for my first day of school life. I was left in a shock seeing the study conditions of the pupils let alone the current infrastructure within the school. I hardly could recognize the once mighty school known for producing the very best of the best performers in the country. That pride in saying the name of this once a mighty school is no more within the community. The school can no longer afford lunch for pupils, not like in the old good days, thus a constant decline in performance. The general reading culture within the pupils is alarming. The fact that insufficiency of story books and normal curriculum text books in the school has pushed the school to stop lending out books to pupils means the only time they are able to practice their reading ability is during school hours of which even then, they have to seat in a group of 5 or 6 pupils per book.
I feel blessed with my public speaking ability and the fact that I have used my life story for the past years to inspire youths across the globe to think positive of life no matter the circumstance. I equally belief that for the great foundation that Laliya primary school offered me has made me into the man I am today; persistence, committed, dedicated, humble and above all the ability to face challenges with a strong hope of over-coming, just like Mr Nelson – my former math teacher (and class teacher) - who is now the Head teacher of the school, used to tell me.
Now I need your help!
We can’t do it all at once but I belief strongly that the fundamental in every child’s life is teaching them to read and write thus this becomes a priority. We can’t reinforce this given the poor state of the school library. Today I am knocking on your door to help restock the school library of Laliya Primary school and build a foundation of a better reading culture in the children of Gulu town. I cannot do this without you.
Thank you so much for taking your time to read through this. I know you and I can make a life-long impact in the lives of these kids.