African Youth Initiative Network
AYINET - Uganda
A tremendous welcome home: Students dance with joy to welcome Victor OCHEN
“Looking at the background of this school, there were poor facilities with less than 200 students and regarded as the worst performing government school in Lira. Today, we are overwhelmingly proud to see you come back to visit your school as the Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, how did you make it? What inspired you?” asked an inspired female student.
Today, I am delighted to be back to Lira Town College after thirteen years. I studied in Lira Town College for six years, from Senior One- Senior Six. Where my dreams and inspirations were nurtured. It is true by then, this was the least preferred school because of the poor performance and moral records.
I was not always the best student in the classroom, and most times defaulted on fees. I still have my mattress and my reports card detained here, because I couldn’t afford to pay full tuition. I studied here on the peak of war, I had to burn charcoal to raise my school tuition. I cobbled my fellow student’s shoes in order to raise money to buy my first pair of shoes, two years after joining this school. I started my leadership skills from this school, where I went from being the Dormitory captain, class monitor, assistant head prefect, to become the Chairman Uganda National Students Association, Lira District.
I know my stories might represent yours as well, as your parents could be helplessly struggling to send you to school just as mine did. With all the financial difficulties and conflicts, what kept me moving was the school motto, that “No Pains No Gains”
It’s a pride to come back to my roots. The school that raised me to the level I am today. The school that produced the Nobel Peace Prize Nominee 2015. I am happy to be identified for recognition alongside great men like Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Barack Obama, Kofi Annan and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr among others. I have the following messages for you the peace generations;
Finally, sometimes in life, difficulties and sufferings create opportunities for us to discover our human similarities. The world around is currently experiencing several conflicts and facing the challenges with the highest number of Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons since WW II.
This awakens us to support the people caught up in conflicts. Collectively, we must work towards building PEACE for all.
What inspired you? A student asking Victor OCHEN
I still have swagg: Victor OCHEN shows students how he used to do it
You too can make it: Victor OCHEN encourages the UNSA chairperson, a position he held 13 years ago.
Time for food: Victor OCHEN joins students for dinner, in the que to be served food
Together as one: students struggle to share food with Victor on the same plate
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© African Youth Initiative Network - Uganda 2017