Patra Mbyemire was one of our students at PEAS Onwards and Upwards Secondary School (O&U) in Uganda. Patra received the Laura Case scholarship during her last year at O&U, which is now supporting her through her second year at Makerere University studying for a Bachelor of Arts in Education. The Laura Case Trust Bursary Scheme enables some of the most able and disadvantaged of students to attend university, thus dramatically increasing their chances of moving themselves and their families out of poverty.

We wanted to share Patra’s story in her own words:

“When I think about O&U, memories fill my heart with untold bliss. The first day I entered this school is still in my memory. I joined in Senior 3 in 2012 (3rd year of secondary school). This was a new school, and the new environment and new faces made my heart pace. "Life is going to be hard!" I continuously thought to myself.

However, things turned out different and every second that passed made me appreciate and thank God for my school. I loved the beautiful school scenery, and the school library excited me because it had the best novels and I love reading.

I was also gifted with excellent class teachers and subject teachers who always helped me when I was absent or fell ill. I also made many friends that helped me a lot with my school work.

My favourite subject at PEAS O&U was English Literature. I always carried a novel with me and read as much as I could. I was inspired by Mrs. Ntulo my literature teacher, who was reading all the time. It felt good to learn new words every day and to improve my diction. I always loved poetry. It made me dream of becoming a good writer and a poet someday.

I remember during one lesson, each of us was told to write a half page story and honestly, it felt like I had nothing to write. But Mrs. Ntulo only said, “If you love it, you can do it!” It’s these words that I carry with me.

I took part in a lot of different activities while at O&U and became Assistant Head Girl in my final year. My time at O&U allowed me to boost my self-esteem, acquire confidence in public speaking and learn about leadership, which changed my perspective on life. I started dreaming of something big, something beyond just sitting in the classroom and taking notes. I wanted to change lives.

In 2013, I took my UCE board exams and I was 2 points away from the highest grade. In 2014, I returned for my A Levels. During this time, I realised the only way I could pursue my dream of going to University was through more hard-work and extra concentration.

School taught me to love, work hard and work as a team, which led me to score the highest A-Level result in the school. I am currently at Makerere University pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education. In the future I would like to become a writer known world-wide and a poet who touches and changes lives, influencing others as a professional teacher and prominent thinker."

Thank you Patra for sharing your story, we wish you all the best with your Bachelor’s degree!

Here is the poem Patra composed to commemorate her time at PEAS.
 

PEAS: My bridge to success

Somewhere beyond the planes of my home,
Hearts of care and love beat!
Yearning for my happiness and well-being.

Somewhere beyond the planes of my home
People I once called strangers work day and night for my sake
Longing for my peace in school.

Somewhere beyond the planes of my home
I have parents, invisible angels,
Soulmates with whom we share a sense of direction.
Thank you PEAS for giving me a chance to go to University.

- Patra Mbyemire, PEAS Onwards and Upwards ’16 alumna