When Juliet first arrived in Uganda in 2017, she did not ever imagine that she would be a business owner, let alone a university student. As a young mother then, Juliet knew from the onset that she needed to find a source of income to sustain her family comprising of her son and siblings. Being the head of her family having lost her parents in the civil war in South-Sudan, Juliet’s goal was to find a self–reliant solution to her family’s livelihood. Having dropped out of school, she knew and appreciated the role of education in transforming one’s life and so she was determined to find her way to the university. Armed with her secondary school academic documents, Juliet quickly searched for the available options to her considering she couldn’t afford to fund her studies. Fortunately, she got an opportunity to serve as a Teaching Assistant with Windle International Uganda and later in 2018, a DAFI scholarship to fund her university studies. Juliet opted to pursue education at the university.
The DAFI Scholarship Programme is an initiative of the German government that provides scholarships to young refugees to help them access and complete higher education in universities, colleges and polytechnics in their host countries, and in some cases, in the country of origin upon return. The scholarship covers a range of costs and also provides academic preparatory, language and information and communication technology (ICT) courses, as well as psychosocial support, where needed. The comprehensive approach is designed to promote student academic achievement, skills development, wellbeing towards a rich and empowering overall higher education experience.
Juliet is not waiting to graduate with her Diploma in Education(Primary) before she can reap the benefits of the scholarship. Like all learners, she is home following the Presidential lockdown directives amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. Juliet stays in Lamwo Refugee Settlement where she has been seeking refuge with her son and siblings since 2017 when they arrived from South-Sudan. Upon her return from the university, Juliet had to think fast about how to survive during this period as she is the head of her family. Armed with some personal savings, Juliet started up her small scale food business that is now their source of livelihood. She also hired a piece of land on which she has planted maize to boost her income.
Whilst balancing business and her academic research and reading, Juliet attributes whatever she can do now to the DAFI scholarship whose main goal is to promote the self-reliance of Refugees. Through the scholarship award, she has attended different forms of training and workshops where she has learned a lot about entrepreneurship and what better time than this to put those skills to use. “I am very grateful for the opportunity given to me as it’s now for all of us in the family, words alone can’t express our joy for the golden chance. DAFI scholarship is like our parent since we lost our parents in the war.” Lamara Juliet