My name is Akena Reagan Peter. A member of the Butterfly Project…. I joined the project in 2011 when the Butterfly Project was searching for gifted and talented Ugandan youth living in the disadvantaged part of the country (rural). My family and I were among the many people affected by the LRA insurgency and driven to internally displaced people camp for over 20 years. Even though the resistance is no more, this part of the country still bleeds from the effects of the war it has caused.
As a child and all my life, I wanted to save life. Seeing people suffer and die from diseases that can be treated motivated me even more to do something about it especially to the people where I come from. One of those is Malaria which is the leading cause of death in infants.
According to a recent report by the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria. In 2015, there were roughly 212 million malaria cases and an estimated 429 000 malaria deaths. Sub-Saharan Africa continues to carry a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden. In 2015, the region was home to 90% of malaria cases and 92% of malaria deaths. In Uganda, Malaria is the leading cause of death among Ugandan accounting for over 27% of lives of Ugandans.(Ministry of Health-Malaria Bulletin 2016). One of the causes of this high rate is due to the inadequate health care facilities and health workers and it’s also the reason why I want to become a doctor.
Through my experience with the Butterfly Project, I also learnt a lot of things. I had dreams but never knew if they could come true and its one of the things you’ll find in most of the kids being brought up in a poor background, you dream but there is nothing to help you make your dream come true and so most of their dreams die at the end because of either limited resources or no one look up to/motivate them to achieve what they wanted as its general to most of the kids in that setting. The butterfly project has taught me a number of things, I got the idea of making change from the Butterfly Project, to make a positive change you didn’t have to start from something big, just had to start from what you have and because of this at the age of 12, I decided to come up with a project, this project was about reporting issues happening in the local community, some health related issues like sanitation, educative aspects and several other issues.
This project was particularly for the Acholi Quarter community living in the slum area in a Kampala suburb, I was particularly working with a team of young individuals at my age and others slightly younger who were acting as news anchors and I would do the editing bit of it, we named this newsletter ‘AQ Youth News’ (AQ-Acholi Quarter).
I also came up with another project two years later called ICT for Change project, from its name, this project was majorly aimed at educating young individual(10-15) on the basic essentials of ICT, it tackled the basic components like Microsoft word to increase their typing skills and speeds, PowerPoint for presentation and the internet bit of it to connect to people overseas and know what’s happening in various part of the world because we are living in a global village and because ICT is becoming one of major essentials in many parts of the world and a job qualification for many other areas.
From the Butterfly Project I also learnt to be selfless, to give back without expecting in return which motivated me to come up with all the above. I also got a chance to reach and visit many important places and sites including the capital city which I first visited because of the project. Among these is, the National Museum, the National Theatre, the National Zoo, the source of world’s second longest river (R. Nile) at Jinja, lake Victoria, the Mandela National Stadium, the Entebbe international Airport, Queen Elizabeth Game Park, farms, got my first experience with the 3D, experienced most of the international foods and many others among to mention but a few.
Through my experience with the Chrysalis School for Young Social Entrepreneurs in 2011 when I was in Senior One, I got the chance to learn subjects which were rare in most cases not there in the schools found in the country, they included Ethics(sympathy and empathy), International Citizenship, Activism ( personalities which done great things in the lives of others). I also learnt how to use computer and internet, boosted by public speaking ability and learnt how to be confident in things I do, connected with some personalities overseas, improved on my reading and writing skills, farming skills, going to change maker workshops, one of which I can remember is the Ashoka Youth venture workshop organized in Kenya’s capital Nairobi bordering Uganda to the east which ran for about a week bringing change makers from all over East Africa, the goal was also to recognize and empower change makers from all over the region who were still in the dream it and do it stage, I also learnt how to play various computer games and board games which were both for educative and leisure purposes, participated in various sports activities like athletics (slum run and few pitch events, football, Frisbee.)
I am doing a Bachelor of Clinical Medicine and Community Health at Kampala International University (School of health sciences) which is expected to last for 4½ years. Kampala International University’s Western Campus [KIU-WC] is situated on about 70 acres of land in Ishaka-Bushenyi, along Mbarara –Kasese Road in Western Uganda about 300km from the capital Kampala.
I have just started my second semester-first year. The first semester started in August 2017 and ended in December 2017 which comprises of 12 course units which are Biology (human history, how life came about, etc), Chemistry ( the medium on which the human body works), Physics ( studying some machines which are use in diagnosis and how they operate), Community Health and Epidemiology ( Study disease patterns and their distribution in community essential in making diagnosis and ensuring diseases are prevented from spreading from one individual or community to another) , Ethics and Integrity (how a medical professional should handle a patient, his/her relationship with the patient, what should be done or not regarding different situations which are considered ethical according to the medical profession), communication skills( skills in relating to one another through various means which is essential in doctor-patient communication and between other health professionals), behavioural science ( study human behavior and personalities for making proper diagnosis), Research Methods (important in research in the medical field in case of a finding or if one wants to conduct a research, the order and procedures to be followed and how it should be done), Computer skills (application software like Microsoft word, to boost skills on typing, printing which are essentials in making medical reports), Biostatistics (concerned with collecting, analyzing, organizing, of bio datas which is important for collecting medical records and drawing logical conclusions from them) , Mathematics( arithmetic analysis of medical records and information) & Entrepreneurship ( to look at various business opportunities associated in the medical field) .
I passed all of them in the first term and have now moved onto the next class and semester despite the numbers and hard work needed. Most of these courses have been fundamental to the start of the career, interacting with friends and people from various cultures, languages and backgrounds from within and from other countries since it’s an international school made it even more interesting because I got to learn a lot and shared with them both inside and outside class.
The second semester comprises of eight course units which are physiology, Human anatomy, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Immunology, Nursing skills, nutritional Health and environmental health from the course outline which I’m to learn this semester and would need sponsoring for and probably for another seven semesters(3 and half years) to the finish of the course.
Due to my good performance in my A levels (the Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE)), I was given a 40% partial scholarship towards the fees, reducing them to about £300 per semester, with two semesters in each year. My living costs are £60/term for accommodation and a further similar amount for food. I was able to raise enough for my accommodation and food last semester and hope to be able to do the same this year. However, I urgently need 1.4m UGX (approx £300) for my fees this term, if I am going to be able to continue. For next year I am going to be planting a substantial amount of sim sim to raise more money for Year 2 and onwards.
If you feel you can help me with any money towards the £300, then that would be really appreciated. Contact Ben on firstname.lastname@example.org for information of how to get the money to me. Thank you for reading this far!