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“As long as I have these two hands, I will continue to write,” says Lunkuse Betty Ssekirevu. “I want to write stories of Africa, and share the narratives that are yet to be told.” Betty lives in a village in Uganda along with her mother and her siblings. Awarded with a scholarship from The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program at BRAC, she has currently applied to top universities in the USA to pursue her higher studies.
“As long as I have these two hands, I will continue to write,” says Lunkuse Betty Ssekirevu. “I want to write stories of Africa, and share the narratives that are yet to be told.” Betty lives in a village in Uganda along with her mother and her siblings. Awarded with a scholarship from The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program at BRAC, she has currently applied to top universities in the USA to pursue her higher studies. The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program is a platform for young boys and girls to help them secure a future for themselves by becoming literate. Such a rite has unfortunately been a privilege for many children in Uganda. Students in this programme come from impoverished families, but are meritorious and would not have been able to continue their education otherwise. In celebration of the Scholars’ tenacity to complete high school, the Programme has organised a graduation ceremony on December 19. This is the first cohort of Scholars to graduate since the Programme’s inception in 2012. The Programme currently has 2,309 Scholars and is in the process of recruiting 2,200 Scholars for the 2015 entry. Betty’s tiny abode is a stark contrast to her larger-than-life personality. Besides herself, none of her other family members speak English; nobody else wants to travel, work outside their home city or dreams of becoming famous one day. “I hope to be a renowned writer in the future, or maybe a journalist,” says Betty. She was inspired to try her hand at writing by another friend. Her favourite authors are JK Rowling and Dan Brown. One can see ambition light up her eyes as she shares her hand written manuscripts of plays. She will type them up at school, where she has access to a computer. Her mother although proud of her, would have preferred to see her become a doctor or engineer. But ultimately, Betty believes from the bottom of her heart that people should pursue their dreams in order to attain success. Betty’s confident demeanour and eloquence shows she is motivated. She believes that no matter what, she will get acceptedto Columbia University or Arizona State University. It might seem as though she has ventured on an impossible journey, but she remains persistent in finding triumph along the way. Betty hopes to return to Uganda after she completes her university degree. She believes that she needs to give back to the community, encouraging others the same way she was and helping them grow as individuals. She also wants to work with BRAC some day to help other young girls make their dreams come true. The difference that The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program has made in students’ lives is only too evident when you witness cases like Betty’s. These are qualities that are present in not one, but all of the other young individuals who are part of the programme. The task is to create change makers in society by building leaders for future generations who dare not only to dream, but dream big. Syeda Samara Mortada is senior lead of communications at BRAC International