My story begun way back in 2012, when I was a little girl. When I was 7 years old, I learned that the person I believed to be my mother was actually my maternal grandmother. My mother gave birth to me while she was still at school. My biological father did not take responsibility. My mother left me with my grandmother to raise me soon after I was born.
Learning this caused me so much pain because I had no sense of belonging; as it the culture here that a child belongs to the patriarchal lineage. In short, I was regarded by the community as a bastard child.
Besides my grandmother, who loved me whole-heartedly, the rest of the family did not like me that much. I was treated as an extra pair of hands for chores and I was often excluded from sharing of material things, such as scholastic materials. I was always an after-thought.
As I grew up, life became difficult for my grandmother and she decided to reunite me with my biological father to take care of me.
The reunion came after I had messed up and I was pregnant. This did not go well with my father who thought of me as a burden because the boy who impregnated me did not want to take responsibility.
After sometime, my father realised that he treated my mother the same way I was being treated by the father of my child. This made him change his attitude towards me and he started loving me and caring for me as I was pregnant. I delivered my baby safely but my education was at stake. I was behind at school and no school in my area would accept me with my baby even though the government had permitted pregnant and breastfeeding girls to go back to school after COVID -19.
However, luck was on my side because a former employee of Te-Kworo Foundation used to live in my neighbourhood. He overheard my father and I wondering which school could take me, and he immediately called the school. Before I knew it, I had an admission letter to join Kworo High School.
When I joined the school, I was afraid because I was in a new environment surrounded by people of different cultures and backgrounds. I felt insecure but later learnt that we all have similar history and experiences. The people I was afraid of turned out to be my support system and are now are my sisters.
I gained courage and connected with the other mothers on campus. The support we get from the caregivers of our babies helped us concentrate in class and school activities.
The second chance education that I am getting from Kworo High School has given me hope in life. My perception of life has changed and I do not intend on wasting it.
Te-Kworo’s support has gone beyond the Acholi land and beyond northern Uganda and I am so grateful for it. I don’t take for granted the opportunity given to me through a second chance at education.
Fiona and baby Tracy