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Education | 04 January 2016

Coming full circle: Francis' story

Francis is 25 years old and lives in Kasaasa Village, Southern Uganda. Like many in the region, he came from a poor family, where his parents struggled to support him and his two siblings. After his father’s passing, his mother found it difficult to look after all three children on her own and Francis’ grandfather took them into his care.

But while it might start off sad, Francis’ tale is actually a happy one – and one that shows the true value of a quality education. In his own words, here’s his story.

“My grandfather took care of me from senior one up to senior three, but it was very hard for him to provide books, fees, and other requirements for my schooling when they were needed.

“I recall the time when I used to stay at school the whole day without meals. I used to walk everyday to school, regularly missing classes because my grandfather could not provide school fees on time.

“As a young boy I had a dream to become somebody in the future, but when I was growing up, I saw my dreams fading because my grandfather could not provide the basics for me to attend school regularly.”

Francis’ luck changed when he was in senior three, when an assessment of his situation resulted in his enrollment in the Cotton On Foundation sponsorship program at St Bernard Mannya Secondary School. He was sponsored from senior three through to senior four, and then opted to enroll in vocational studies at Rakai Comprehensive School of Nursing.

“I am very thankful to Cotton On Foundation for giving me a chance to get my dreams back when they enrolled me into their sponsorship program. They provided me with fees, scholastic materials, boarding facilities and meals at school to help me concentrate on my studies.”

For the past two years, Francis has worked at the St Bernard Mannya Health Centre, one of the local health facilities supported by the Cotton On Foundation.

“I am currently living my dream, practicing at St Bernard Mannya Health Centre. Because of my employment, I am also able to support my brother and sister who are in senior five and three respectively at St Bernard Mannya Secondary School.

“Today, not only can I take care of my family members (my mother and siblings), but I am also giving back to my community by working at the health centre. “I am very thankful to my sponsor for having given me a life time opportunity to be somebody useful in this community.”

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The Cotton On Foundation is the Cotton On Group’s philanthropic arm, funding projects in Australia and overseas through a unique partnership with customers and employees. We have a number of designated initiatives currently underway and unfortunately are unable to support additional projects at this time.

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