Scholarship Programme

Graduation Festivities at Fontes Foundation

by fontes on 23/06/2017 No comments

On Friday, June 16th, it was time to get together and celebrate the graduation of our Potentiam Youth Development Centre students. Next to current core- and short course students, we were delighted to welcome many PYC Alumni and two guests of honour at the event. Our Graduation festivities were exciting and refreshingly diverse, including inspiring speeches, cultural dances and even a fire-spitting performance.

Solomon King sharing his story

The most insightful part of the event were the final speeches by our guests of honour. We were fortunate enough to host two fascinating personalities, sharing their personal life paths and giving valuable advice. Solomon King, who is a self-taught founder of a robotic start-up,focused on the importance of failure in life. His story has been shaped by obstacles and he had to face many setbacks on the way. However, he says he had not been able to become the person he is today without the struggles he had to overcome. He emphasized the opportunities there are for the graduates, having learned to acquire knowledge auto-didactically. As has learned about robotics and is successful in this field, so could the students learn more about any subject and succeed.

Our second guest of honour was Mbabazi Victoria. Her story showcases how one can be successful by following their passion. She had gone out of her field of software engineering, to pursue her true passion, which is food. Today, she is the owner of a thriving restaurant, Kahwa2Go, next to her work as software engineer. The graduates were deeply impressed and inspired. We hope for them to do as Solomon and Victoria, stay eager to learn and courageous in following their purpose.

The grand finale was given by our core-course graduate Olembe Richard, Lil Rich. His song “Namuwongo”, in which he talked about the challenges of living in the slums of Namuwongo after escaping the unrest in Northern Uganda as a child, was very moving. We are proud to see what Richard and his classmates have achieved on an academic, professional and personal level in the last six months and are happy to let them go find their way in this world.

Fontes Music Dance and Drama Team at work

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fontesGraduation Festivities at Fontes Foundation

Meet Scholarship Student, Cleophas

by fontes on 20/12/2016 No comments

Cleophas Tumuhimbise comes from the small fishing village of Kashaka, one of the villages where Fontes Foundation has installed a safe water system. His mother, as a single mother, could not afford his education. In the extremely poor villages of the Queen Elizabeth National Park, without an education, a young boy like Cleophas is expected to become a fisherman. A fisherman’s life is extremely harsh with little pay and dangerous working conditions. The fishermen of Kashaka risk their lives every day to catch fish in lakes that are crocodile and hippo infested. Thanks to Cleophas’s sponsor in Germany, he was given a chance to study and build a better life for himself.

With his donor’s support, Cleophas completed secondary school and two years of vocational training. He now has a certificate in electrical engineering and one in business management. His hard work and excellent grades made Cleophas a model student, while his outgoing and friendly personality has helped him to establish good relations and networks within his community. This strong community involvement made Cleophas the perfect candidate for our field intern position. And we weren’t wrong, he has already hit the ground running, assisting our field officer and also former scholarship student, Pascal. When Kashaka lost their water technician, Cleophas was quick to step in and take over the position.

In addition, Cleophas continues to build strong ties to his community by recently opening a bar in Kashaka.

By sponsoring a child through the Fontes Foundation’s Scholarship program, you can provide a child like Cleophas with the opportunity to escape poverty and create a better life for themselves and their community. Find out more about how to sponsor a child this Christmas.

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fontesMeet Scholarship Student, Cleophas

New Master’s Thesis on Youth Unemployment in Uganda and Fontes Foundation’s Youth Programme

by fontes on 01/06/2015 No comments

Fontes Foundation Uganda’s Regional Coordinator, Michael Pletscher, recently finished his master’s thesis on youth unemployment in urban Uganda. The thesis explores the reasons for youth unemployment in Uganda and how Fontes Foundation’s Youth Programme can be adjusted and/or improved to fight this problem even better in the future. The research is based on Michael’s personal experiences from working for Fontes Foundation Uganda, supported by academic literature and focus group discussions with Core Course students from Potentiam Youth Centre, as well as comparisons with other youth programmes in Uganda. For his thesis, Michael received very good feedback and an excellent grade from his supervisors. You can have a look at Michael’s research – and learn more about Fontes Foundation’s Youth projects – here.

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fontesNew Master’s Thesis on Youth Unemployment in Uganda and Fontes Foundation’s Youth Programme

The Weapon of Education

by Agnes Kampire on 14/05/2015 No comments

Several students will graduate from their vocational training this year with the help from Fontes Foundation’s Scholarship Programme. One student shares his experience and hopes for the future.

(Caption above: Students of the Scholarship Programme when they were all still in secondary school. From top left is Abdul Karim, Vincent, Isaac, Nicholas, Justus, Cleophas, Justine, Gloria, Zarika and Sharon.)

Nelson Mandela once said that ”Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” This quote accurately illustrates Fontes Foundation’s motivation behind its Scholarship Programme. When Fontes Foundation installed its first safe water project in Katunguru-Rubirizi, Uganda, in 2004, the organization realized that the children in the area were not attending school. The majority of the parents were too poor to afford their children’s education – others would stop sending their children to school, as there were no prospects of continuing their studies. Therefore, Fontes started a scholarship program to help the ones who are not able to pay for the education themselves.

The programme is meant to support four years of secondary school (O-level) and two years of vocational training, which provides skills that are needed in the otherwise tough Ugandan job market.

This year, Fontes has started to integrate the scholarship students into Potentiam Youth Centre, where the goal is to improve their personal skills and to help them gain confidence. One Scholarship Programme student, Abdul Karim, is currently attending the Core Course in Applied Business Skills. Abdul Karim has completed his O-level and will continue his vocational training at Young Men Christian Association (YMCA) Comprehensive Institute in Kampala after he has graduated from the Youth Centre.

Fontes currently supports 18 students through the Scholarship Programme. Five students are doing their vocational training at YMCA. Vincent, Gloria and Justine will graduate this August and Justus and Cleophas want to write an additional engineering exam. Zarika will also graduate this year, with a Certificate in Nursing. We wish all the students good luck!


My Story – by Vincent Tibetumira

Living a hopeless life is a painful experience. I was born and raised in Kisenyi fishing village in western Uganda. In this village, fishing is the only reasonable source of income. Otherwise, people spend their time drinking. Parents have no money to take their children to school and the majority of parents do not understand the importance of education.

Vincent in Katunguru-Rubirizi, western Uganda with his new laptop.

Vincent in Katunguru-Rubirizi, western Uganda with his new laptop.

I have been raised from a family without love, care and little knowledge about the importance of education. My father left my mother when I was very young and ever since, my mother has worked so hard to maintain the needs of my siblings and I. She has taken good care of me.

When I finished Primary School, my mother could not afford a good secondary school. I lost hope of ever going back to school, but fortunately Fontes Foundation decided to grant me a scholarship because of my great performance at primary level. Through Fontes, my donors have supplied all my needs. I have never lacked anything. Last week I received a laptop that I am going to use in my business and I am so excited. Thank you so much Fontes! I would never have made it here without your help.

I completed my O-levels and joined YMCA in Kampala a year ago. Now, I am looking forward to complete my Certificate in Electrical Installation this year. If I manage to get enough startup capital, I plan on starting my own business and to be my own boss.

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Agnes KampireThe Weapon of Education

Practice Trumps Theory

by Agnes Kampire on 10/08/2014 No comments

The current job market in Uganda demands specific skills and expertise in applied fields. To ensure the employability and long-term success of our scholarship students, five of them are now being trained at an excellent vocational institute.

Youth unemployment is a prevalent problem in the 21st century in Uganda. A 2010 International Labor Organization (ILO) report reveals that the share of unemployed youth among the total of unemployed persons is as high as 83% and therefore poses serious political, economic, social challenges to the country and its leadership. The President of Uganda called upon all youth to opt for skill-oriented courses to enable them to compete favorably in the current job market. Such practical courses include plumbing, hotel management or medical laboratory assistant.

Aware of the many challenges young people are facing regarding both educational and employment opportunities, Fontes Foundation is sponsoring 17 students from under-privileged families through student-donor relationships. The majority of the students have yet to complete lower high school, but this spring several of them were confronted with the difficult choice of what path to continue their higher education on. In line with a general trend highlighting the importance of practical skills in Uganda, Fontes Foundation advocated applications for institutions of practical skills. In a capacity building the advantages of joining such an institutions were discussed with the students in an attempt to overcome the perception that only a university degree will ensure a successful career and gainful employment. Letting the students make up their own minds, five decided to join an institution for practical skills, the Young Men Christian Association (YMCA) Comprehensive Institute in Kampala, the capital of Uganda. It was started in 1986 to enable disadvantaged youth to gain skills through vocational training. The courses offered include computer science, hair dressing and salon management, hotel management, business and project management, electrical installation, industrial art and design.

Unlike other institutions and universities in the formal education sector that are theoretical and whose degrees are based on outdated curricula, YMCA Comprehensive Institute trains students to be self-employed by equipping them with life and entrepreneurship skills. The students are encouraged to be creative and innovative and are supported in developing a high self-esteem. YMCA Comprehensive Institute focuses on the promotion of the students’ moral, physical, spiritual and mental development through co-curricular activities such as sports and debating among students. Such activities improve the students’ confidence in speech and appearance.

The other students who joined YMCA Comprehensive Institute in 2014 include Justus, Cleophas, Gloria and Justine. Their training brought the students to Kampala for the very first time – a very exciting moment for all of them. Their first experiences at YMCA Comprehensive Institute have led to important realizations for these students. A university degree is not a guarantee for a secure future. It is far more important to have a skill set, which is in demand and through which one can provide a useful service and make a sustainable living. With the girls becoming computer wizards and the boys future electricians, they have all chosen courses which match their interests and also provide them with valuable expert knowledge and training.

After their first semester, the students were very excited to go back home and share their first experiences. With high hopes for the future, all of the students are certain that they will become job creators rather than job seekers and offer important opportunities to the future generations.

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Agnes KampirePractice Trumps Theory

Graduation Day

by Apiyo Oweka-Laboke on 20/07/2014 No comments

In August the Potentiam Youth Development Centre proudly graduated another cohort of 11 students from the 3rd round of the Core Course. Over 60 students also received certificates in the Short Courses of Basic ICT and Basic English and Literacy. In the two years since conception, the Centre has trained over 200 high-school dropouts in Soft Skills and Business Skills to improve their chances in accessing gainful employment.

The graduation celebration was presided over by Mr. Kiggundu Gonzaga, a Programme Officer at Hunger Free World, who in his inspirational speech emphasized the importance of making the most of professional opportunities. He reminded the graduates that the long-term perspective is very important when starting a career and that working your way to the top will take time and energy but that sincere efforts will be rewarded. This was pertinent advice for our graduates, who are now planning their professional future. The Potentiam Youth Development Centre will continuously follow the students through the mentorship program and different evaluation tools to ensure that they are ideally supported to achieve the final goal: employment and a sustainable career.

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Apiyo Oweka-LabokeGraduation Day

Scholarship Students Involved in Water Project

by fontes on 16/09/2011 No comments

Three students from the Scholarship Programme, Justine, Zarika and Gideon, participated to the implementation of the new water project in Katunguru Kasese. Like other scholarship students before, they were highly motivated and assisted with many different tasks such as plumbing, supervising the digging of trenches or translating. The project was successfully completed and the three students were very pleased of having been part of it. Fontes Foundation thinks it is important for the personal development of the students not only to focus on academic education, but also to get exposed to community work. We therefore try to include the students in our projects as much as we can, which is appreciated both by the students and the communities.
In November, Gideon as well as his classmate Paul are to finish their A-Levels degree and will therefore leave the Scholarship Programme. However, Fontes Foundation will take in four new students in the first term of 2011. If you are interested in sponsoring one of the new students, do not hesitate to contact us.

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fontesScholarship Students Involved in Water Project

Extension of Scholarship Programme

by fontes on 20/10/2010 No comments

After numerous requests from other villages, Fontes Foundation decided to extend the scholarship programme until now only covering Katunguru village, to the villages of Kazinga and Kisenyi. This year, one student from each of the new villages will be selected in addition to one student in Katunguru, after they go through the transparent application process. The scholarship will provide motivated and vulnerable youth with the possibility to go to secondary school, and covers all expenses in addition to school fees. Fontes Foundation is now looking for donors to sponsor the three new students. If you are interested, please do not hesitate to contact us!

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fontesExtension of Scholarship Programme

Scholarship Students Active in Kashaka Implementation

by fontes on 01/01/2010 No comments

It is important for Fontes Foundation that the scholarship students are not only advancing academically, but that they are also exposed to other lessons important for their future. Therefore, the students have been closely involved in the water projects of Fontes Foundation. Two students, Luke and Gideon, were selected to participate during the implementation of a new water project in Kashaka village. They were extremely active and helped with translation, community mobilisation, learning basic technical tasks such as plumbing, etc. They also helped the committee in the starting phase with the management of the project.

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fontesScholarship Students Active in Kashaka Implementation