When you take a stroll in your village, you may realize that there are many youths with hearts yearning for education. You will also realise that there are no or limited opportunities for these young people to access education.
25 year old Rayan Mulindwa Kibedi experienced this harsh reality when he saw that most of his friends could not afford to sit their primary Living Examinations (PLE) and many of those who wrote their final Primary examinations could not afford to progress to Secondary due to financial constraints.
In 2010, during his primary seven at St. Paul Kanoni Primary School in Rakai, Rayan rallied his classmates to help out their colleagues who were on the verge of dropping out of school for lack of basic needs.
“While I was in Rakai, I realized some of my classmates were not attending school simply because they lacked books, sets, pens and shoes. I talked to different students and we started fundraising for our friends so that they could also sit their final examinations,” he narrated.
After his primary, he joined Olympio high school in Nsangi. However, the reality of seeing his friends failing to continue hit him like a hammer.
“While in senior one, I realized that many of my friends had not got the opportunity of going back to school. During my third term, I went and talked to the school director Mr. Kasasa Robert, I told him about my friends who had passed really well, wanted to go back to school but could not afford the costs. I told him, they could not afford the UGX650,000 we used to pay as school fees” he recalls.
Mulindwa adds: “ The director asked me how much they could afford and I told him they could only manage paying UGX 200,000 with requirements. We reached an agreement and he gave me fifty bursaries where each student was tasked to pay UGX200,000 and fifteen full bursaries. Unfortunately, the school’s administrators fell out and the director Mr. Kasasa had to leave but since he had given me bursaries he kept his promise.
During my senior one third term holiday, I went back to Rakai, talked to my friends’ parents and other guardians and parents about my bursaries. They agreed and trusted me with their children, the following year, we joined Mr. Kasada at his new school John’s high school Mukono.”
After this achievement, the director called Mulindwa to his office and initiated the idea of making the young man his marketeer. But Mulindwa used his new found fame and importance to help secure even more bursaries for needy students.
“The director proposed that I market his school, bring in more students and in return, I would get free education to which I agreed. The following year, I went back to Rakai, convinced more parents, guardians and students to join Johns High School.
On the D-day of returning to Kampala, my dad had tasked me to accompany and monitor the transportation of two fully loaded FUSO trucks that were carrying freshly harvested Irish Potato to Kampala.
On that same day, I was also supposed to come with the new students since it was their first time in town. I choose students over my Father’s harvests. Unfortunately, his trucks of food did not reach their destination, they were stolen,” he continues to narrate.
After the fateful incident, Mulindwa’s father said he would not pay his fees again. felt he had secured himself a bursary at his boss’s school.
“For the director to grant me a full bursary, he suggested that I take back some of the students to village. I could not do that because I knew where i had got them from and their parents had put so much trust in me. I chose their education over mine. I was in senior three by then and things were so challenging. I came to Namirembe road market, talked to friends who were already in the clothing business.
They gave me the opportunity and I started hustling with them, I took my first term off, I joined my class during the second term and made it a habit of studying and working two weeks respectively. Later on, my mind woke up and I realized I was unfairly treated because we had become business partners with the director,” he revealed.
After realizing that the burden was too much, Mulindwa quit John’s high school along with the Director’s brother one Andrew Migga Kasada and joined another school called St. George.
At St George, the duo were welcomed with open arms and offers of bursaries.
Mulindwa had by now built a reputation as a good scout for students and every new school wanted him in their teams.
“Since I was experienced in the marketing field, many administrators wanted me on their teams. I left my colleague at St George and joined Uganda Martyrs Sonde. It was the same period when my father pardoned me and gave me a second chance. I always made it a point to ask for bursaries for my people in Rakai at every school that wanted my marketing services. I also set up fast food stalls in different places like Munaku, Kasubi, Namungona and Nsangi so that I could generate more money and lessen my financial constraints since I had officially started my charity outreaches,” recall Mulindwa.
He adds “I later on partnered with one of my friends who was dealing in second hand trousers, I joined him and we started working together. That same period, I sat down with Kasasa and we came up with the idea of starting our own school.
He started Crescent high school. I brought him over eight hundred students on both half and full bursary. However, he fell out with his partners and we had to leave and joined St. James Bulenga.
I was in my senior six then and before we could write our UACE papers, the directors lost control of the school and they decided to sell it to Dream Africa Schools. We were left with no teachers and no administrator, I had to leave and as well take care of my fellow students.
The situation was again challenging because while we were preparing for our final papers, the school owners were renovating and turning it into a primary school. We always had to shift from one class to another.
I again talked to Kasasa and asked him to start his own school and he started Uganda Martyrs High School Bweya-Kajjansi. I officially became the School marketer with expectations of getting some good money compared to the one I have always received.
“After my senior six, I went back to Rakai and also came up with the idea of starting an organization. I believed it was the only way other people living far and wide would join me in this noble cause. I came up with poor Child Uganda after I realized that it was the best name suitable for the less privileged children in the country.
For proper management of the charity
Mulindwa realized he could not afford to run the Organization from a brief case. He registered it formally as a community based organization.
His focus with poor child remained providing education to the less privileged.
“I went back and talked to Kasasa , we agreed that I market his school and in return, he gives me bursaries. He gave me over 100 full bursaries, 350 half bursaries where students are expected to pay carrying amounts.
Thanks to Mulindwa’s philanthropic drive, he has helped to secure up to 8000 bursaries for less privileged students from different schools across the country, with majority coming from the central region.
Herman Kamanzi one of the beneficiaries of Mulindwa’s heart of gold witnesses that:
“I had finished my senior four in Ssembabule and had lost hope of getting back to school when my brother called me and told me that Mulindwa was giving out bursaries. Since I wanted so much to go back to school, I immediately called him after my brother gave me his number, we talked over the phone and he told me the list of schools that were giving out bursaries, I chose Crescent high school. After my exams, I joined Mulindwa in the field and learnt field marketing skills from him. This has become my job and source of livelihood,”