Betty Namawejje is 17 years old and a senior at St. Andrew’s Secondary School. She lives with her father and older sister. At home, Betty helps her father grow corn, bananas, sugarcane, sweet potatoes, and cassava and raise two pigs and ten chickens. Like many of the students at St. Andrew’s, Betty tries to arrive to school 30 minutes early to review her books before classes begin. Her best subjects are physics, agriculture, and biology. Betty hopes to become a doctor.
Josephine Nabatanzi is 15 years old and a sophomore at St. Andrew’s Secondary School. Josephine’s father died in 1991. Josephine lives with her mother, two brothers, and one sister. Josephine and her mother weave and sell traditional mats. Each morning, Josephine wakes up at 6:00 to do her morning chores, which include fetching water, collecting wood for cooking, and sweeping the compound. After finishing her chores, she sets off on the 1˝ hour walk to school. Josephine enjoys reading books, dancing, and singing. She admires a nurse in her village and hopes to become a nurse herself.
Josephine Namatovu is 17 years old and is in her senior year at St. Andrew’s Secondary School. Josephine’s mother died in the mid-1990s; her father moved to Kampala and has started another family. Josephine has lived with her grandmother since she was 6 years old. Josephine is confident that she will pass the national exams and graduate in December 2006. She hopes to become a nurse. However, like many students in their senior year, Josephine is uncertain whether she will be able to continue her education because her family does not have the means to pay for her education.
Juliet Nakalanda is 16 years old and a junior at St. Andrew’s Secondary School. Both of Juliet’s parents died in 2001. Juliet and her younger sister and brother live with their 75-year-old maternal aunt. The family grows bananas, cassava, and sweet potatoes and raises a few cows, goats, and chickens for subsistence. Juliet frequently works for other families fetching water or tending their gardens in order to earn money to help her family. Juliet hopes to become a nurse or doctor to benefit her family and her community. She also sometimes dreams of becoming a musician or film star.
Lydia Nakatudde lives with her mother and two younger siblings. Her father died in 2001. Lydia is 14 years old and helps her mother grow a few crops and raise a few chickens and a goat. She is in her sophomore year at St. Andrew’s Secondary School and enjoys studying physics and history. Like many students in Matale, Lydia is frequently absent from school due to illness, which affects her ability to perform to her highest potential in school.
Mary Nampima lives with her aunt, grandfather, and seven siblings. Her mother died in 1988, shortly after Mary was born, and her father died in 1999. Mary’s brothers and sisters are not able to attend school because there is not enough money to pay for their school fees. Mary helps her aunt cook, fetch water, collect firewood, wash clothes, and look after the younger children in the household. Mary is 18 years old and a senior at St. Andrew’s Secondary School. She hopes to become a midwife like her aunt.
Prossy Najjingo is one of the tallest girls in her school. She is 16 years old and a sophomore at St. Andrew’s Secondary School. Prossy’s mother and father died in 1999. She and her four siblings (ages 6, 9, 14, and 18) live with their grandparents, who also care for another four orphaned grandchildren (ages 5, 6, 7, and 15). Prossy is occasionally sick with malaria. She does very well in biology and chemistry and hopes to become a nurse so that she can earn money to help her younger siblings and cousins go to school.
Ritah Namulindwa has set her sights on becoming a doctor. She is 17 years old and a junior at St. Andrew’s Secondary School. Ritah lost her mother in 1989, and her father died in 1999. She and her two siblings live with their grandparents, who are peasant farmers. Ritah is a very good student but feels she could do much better if the school had lab equipment for the practical study of chemistry and physics. Her strongest subjects are physics, mathematics, and English.
Rose Nankindu is 17 years old and has five younger siblings. She is a senior at St. Andrew’s Secondary School and hopes to become a nurse. Her mother died some years ago, and her father died this past year. Rose is very conscientious and tries to study for two hours each evening. Her best subjects are chemistry and geography. She hopes to become a nurse, but she is uncertain whether she will be able to continue her education since her family has little money to pay tuition for her and all of her siblings.
Ruth Nabisere is 16 years old and a junior at St. Andrew’s Secondary School. Her father died in 2000, and her mother died in early 2006. Ruth and her two younger brothers now live with their aged grandparents. Like many of the students, occasionally Ruth is ill with malaria, which affects her school work and attendance. She enjoys playing netball, singing, and spending time with her friends. Her favorite school subjects are mathematics and biology. She wishes to become a nurse.
Stephanie Namaganda is 18 years old and lost her father in 2001. Stephanie has seven siblings and lives with her mother. Stephanie’s older sister works in a pharmacy to help support the family and send the younger siblings to school. A senior at St. Andrew’s Secondary School, Stephanie’s favorite subjects are chemistry and physics. In Fall 2006, Stephanie took the national exams to graduate. She hopes to further her education to become a nurse because she likes studying sciences and believes that nurses earn a good income.
Winnie Namuyanja is 15 years old and a sophomore at St. Andrew’s Secondary School. Her father died in 1994. Winnie and her older sister live with their mother. Like most families in the area, they grow their own food. When Winnie returns home from school at 6:00 pm, she helps her mother dig and plant, fetch water, and cook. It is dark and nearly 9:00 pm when all the chores and evening meal are finished. If the family can afford candles, Winnie reads and reviews her school work for an hour or two hours before going to sleep. Her best subjects in school are fine arts and biology. She hopes to become a primary school teacher.