The girls retired to their dormitory after a hectic day. The peaceful school became a den of vicious attack as rebels charged in to rape, brutally wound and abduct innocent girls to the bush as their wives. I could have been one of them. To say the least, I come from Northern Uganda, a region that hardly knew peace for the past 2 decades until recently due to instability caused by a rebel group known as the Lord’s Resistance Army under the leadership of Joseph Kony, a self imposed spiritual leader from Northern Uganda who had been fighting against the incumbent president’s rule and immensely tortured his own people, destabilizing and wounding many. In due course, my parents moved to neighboring country Kenya when I was roughly 2 years old. As I grew up, I listened to their gruesome tales about the war, which awakened my curiosity and developed my personal vision to fight against injustice on girls and women by the pen and paper.
Since electronic media was not so detailed on reporting stories about Northern Uganda in Kenya possibly due to proximity, dad always found a way of coming back home with Ugandan newspapers and safely kept them for future reference. By reading them, I developed a writing passion. At a tender age, I begun listening to people’s experiences, watched so many documentaries and noted them down while memorizing dad’s newspaper sayings and did so well in English composition papers and debate competitions in junior and high school. I spent most of my time in front of the mirror holding a tissue roll as my microphone simulating reporters or rehearsing in front of my family and this helped boost my public speaking skills, self esteem and confidence that spread from home to school and the community, landing me an opportunity to host a youth talk show on a community radio during vacation which later on transgressed to working with a DSTV lifestyle show and various companies for a while before joining university.
As fate would have it, I chose to come back home and pursue higher education in Uganda, where I could learn more about my culture while advancing my vision of speaking up for people afflicted in the postwar conflict. At the university, where I am currently a finalist pursuing a bachelors degree in public relations and media management, my involvement in several things came as a surprise to many. For instance, in my first year first semester, I was voted as the first female editor in chief for the university publication, something unheard of, given that I was fresh blood, un-experienced yet this post was technical involving a lot of political down play needless to say, dominated by men in higher classes. I believed I could do something different. Previous publications were A4 sized papers, in black and white with very few pages and could be published once a semester yet so much money was being invested in it and misappropriated besides it came with bonuses and a coveted salary. Through thick and thin, I managed to beat all the rivals at the student’s parliament. The first publication under my reign came as a surprise to many. It was an A3 coloured paper which attracted a lot of community involvement. It nearly rivaled some local newspapers. The community, agreed to sell our papers at their shops, bought it, shared their stories and personal testimonies with us and above all, the re- launch of the publication was streamed live on one of the local television stations. However, I must mention that the content was limited to university events although we tried to embrace current world affairs.
I would like to be a voices of the future correspondent because I believe that it has a global audience and presents one of the best ways of sharing my vision as well as learning from many brilliant minds. It is not limited to geographic scope, meaning that I can access so much unlimited information and network with millions. To the world my voice may be one person but to one person, I may be the world.
Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future Application: Your Vision.