Superwoman Community

A parent’s tale of a good daughter-gone-better.

Mr. Patrick Mubiru, Lydia Namwanje's guardian.

Photo: Mr. Patrick Mubiru, at his home in Gomba district

As we drive into Mr. Patrick Mubiru’s compound, I cannot help but admire the reddish coffee seeds laid out in the sun to dry. I make a mental note to ask him how long it takes to dry this much seed, especially in a rainy season. Mr. Mubiru is the legal guardian to Lydia Namwanje, one of the Superwomen at Kasaka SS. Our home visit is to find out what Lydia’s family think of her participation in the SuperWoman project. Lydia is also one of 10 girls who were awarded at the SuperWoman Gala under the category, “Best Essay Writer.”

Warmly welcoming us to his home, Mr. Mubiru dashes out of his house, barefooted to shake our hands and usher us into his sitting room. Without giving us time to explain the purpose of our visit, he insists we should tell him which sodas we would like to take so he can send for them.

Politely declining his offer, we assure him we will be very happy to sip whatever sodas he gives us, once we are done with the interview.

Mr. Segirinya, SuperWoman coordinator in Gomba introduces the team and briefly notifies Mr. Mubiru why we are at his home.  

With a polite smile and slight bow of the head, Mr. Mubiru, once again, welcomes us to his home.

Having set up our cameras, we quickly dive into the interview. It is during the interview that we get to learn that Lydia, is his niece, and not biological daughter, as we assumed.

Mr. Mubiru describes Lydia as a calm obedient girl, who is well behaved, though very shy. Not any different from what her Headmistress, Mr. Jane Serumaga or her Lead Female Teacher, Mr. Aida Nakakande described her when we visited her school, Kasaka Secondary School.

Outcomes

Mr. Mubiru recalls when Lydia came to notify and seek their permission to travel to Kampala for the SuperWoman project. “She came and let us know that she had been selected as part of a group travelling to Kampala to produce a radio show.”

On the trophy and gift hamper, Mr. Mubiru’s face lights up as he narrates how the family was both  surprised and happy when Lydia came back home with a SuperWoman trophy and gift hamper containing exercise books, books, packets of sanitary towels, a novel, among other items. “When we allowed her to travel and take part in these activities, we had no idea there were prizes to be won,” he says.

 “We put her SuperWoman trophy up in our room and we look at it every day.”

After Lydia brought home the trophy, her guardians started seeing her in new light. Yes, she was well behaved. Yes, she was no problem child and Yes, she had never shown signs of dropping out of school. But after she scooped an award and brought it home, Mr. Mubiru says they realized how bright Lydia’s future will be if she continues on the same path. “She went to Kampala, and managed to win among those strangers by overcoming her shyness.”

Lydia receives her SuperWoman trophy from the guest of honor

Photo:Guests and students look on as Lydia recieves her SW trophy from the guest of honor, Victoria Katamba at one of the galas.

Lydia is currently in her final high school year, senior six at Kasaka SS in the boarding section. Mr. Mubiru informs us that they decided to send her to the boarding section to give her enough time to concentrate on her books with no excuses of house chaos and distractions.

As we come to the end of the interview, we ask Mr. Mubiru if we can have a look at Lydia’s trophy. He quickly stands to go and retrieve it from the bedroom, but not before calling out to one of his older children to put three bottles of soda on a tray for his visitors :-) 

It is over the cold refreshments that I get to ask Mr. Mubiru about his coffee sun drying out in his vast compound. By the time we bid our farewell, my team and I have learnt more about coffee than any other cash crop in the country. 

"So far, the fruits are being seen. Now girls are debating!" - District Inspector of Schools, Gomba

SuperWomen from Bukandula SS entertain guest at the SuperWoman Gala.

Mr. Lwanga Charles, District Inspector of Schools, Gomba during the interview in his Office.

My colleague and I arrive at the Gomba District office at the exact time we are expected, 10:30 AM on the dot. As we make our way to the District Inspector of Schools’ (DIS) office, the DREAMS-SuperWoman coordinator in Gomba introduces me to a number of education officers and other local government staff.

“You are the DREAMS people helping us educate our girls!” one gentle man exclaims after the introduction. A polite conversation follows with me doing my best to explain to him that we are helping to KEEP their girls in school. He does not see the difference and we leave it at that.

Once in the DIS’s office, a polite office assistant ushers us in and as we take our seats, informs us that the DIS, Mr. Lwanga Charles will be running late from an urgent errand he had to attend to.

Not long after our arrival, a motor cycle parks outside the office and a man rushes into the office and apologies for keeping us waiting. This is the man we have been waiting for.

As he takes his seat behind his large desk filled with piles of paperwork and box files, introductions are made. At the mention of DREAMS-SuperWoman, Mr. Lwanga leans forward on his desk and takes over the conversation. He expresses his gratitude at what the project has done for the girls in Gomba and goes ahead to share with us how his daughter is an avid listener of the SuperWoman radio show, which broadcasts every Saturday and Wednesday on Mbabule FM and Sun FM. 

Gomba is one of the districts in Uganda whose school dropout rate is alarming. To this, Mr. Lwanga is quick to express his gratitude to the Wizarts Foundation and DREAMS teams for considering Gomba as one of the schools to implement the project. “Dropout rate in Primary schools here is not as rampant as it is in the secondary schools. Mostly because the pupils in primary are not yet at that confusing adolescent stage,” he explains

As the DIS, Mr. Lwanga is in charge of inspecting all academic institutions in Gomba district. One would therefore quickly conclude that he is too busy a man, to notice any impact the project has had in the SuperWoman schools he inspects. But Alas! Nothing seems to go past this education enthusiast.

"So far, the fruits are being seen! Now girls are debating. They have built their confidence through SW activities."

As we come to the end of the interview, Mr. Lwanga once again thanks us for bringing the SW project to help “our girls,” as he likes to refer to the SuperWomen girls in the 5 school implementing the project. He reminds us not to forget to share our SW quarterly reports as we promised.

It is promising to hear from not only a local government official, but also a parent and community member who not only speaks for the district, but also for the community in Gomba about the positive impact the SW project is having in the district. 

Working to Keep Girls in school.