Morgan Frank Omara is no ordinary private security officer. He’s astute, confident, fluent, respectful, and hard-working. He completed S.6 at Mengo SS in 2015 and excelled. But not sufficiently to secure a government sponsorship to advance further to the University or College. Unfortunately for him, his uncle who had supported his education from primary school and was still desirous to privately pay his tuition lost his life in a fatal accident.
Omara is the first-born child of her mother’s six children. “My peasant mother had to raise us single-handedly because dad has a mental health problem” he told me with his characteristic soft-spoken demeanor. Omara’s father started experiencing mental health breakdowns when his brother was abducted by the LRA rebels from Alebtong and news arrived that he had been killed.
Uncertain of what to do after his uncle’s death, Omara went back to Lira and started doing odd manual jobs. After a while, he was unsatisfied as the jobs had no growth prospects. That’s how he decided to return to Kampala for better opportunities. He requested his OB from high school who is currently studying at a university in Kampala to accommodate him in his hostel room.
Shortly, he joined the G4S security firm, hoping that maybe if he worked hard and diligently, he would grow in rank. It’s now two years, and the ranks are yet to come. And Omara wants to do something alongside his security job. This time, something more ambitious. Something he always loved: studying. To become something he always dreamt of: a journalist.
“How can I become a journalist? Omara asked me. I had known him for four months already and our friendship had grown from the day he recognized my dirty motorbike and requested to wash it for me – without pay. I told him you must start by doing a certificate training and maybe later, a university degree if you have a senior four certificate. “But I have a senior six certificate” he interjected. I felt ashamed. I had misjudged him. I asked him questions about his educational and family background and at once, I knew I had to help a ‘brother’. Perhaps my misjudgment of him inspired my intention to be helpful.
I requested him to search online for universities in Kampala offering journalism degree courses and the following day, he told me he had, among others identified, and already inquired to know more about the Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Media Studies offered at Victoria University. He was told the documents he needed to submit to apply for the programme, including a UGX 240,000 fee for admission, and other related costs. But he didn’t have the money so I paid for it. I told him, “let’s first get the admission letter and maybe a miracle shall happen and we shall be able to get the tuition funds to support your university education”.
Maybe I wasn’t smart enough to raise Omara’s expectations, especially when I am also struggling to meet personal responsibilities and finance other projects like Okere City. But at least I had one conviction: that there are friends like Mpindi Abaas who could give Omara a space and platform through the Media Challenge Initiative to grow and become the best journalist he can be. That maybe, the Vice-Chancellor of Victoria University, Dr. Lawrence Muganga could read this article and be inspired to see if there are any internal scholarship opportunities for disadvantaged yet passionate, brilliant, and hardworking students like Omara.
In all, I am very sure of one thing: that my network of supportive friends shall not hesitate to donate even $1 to make sure that Omara goes to the university and studies something he loves so that he can become the storyteller and change maker he deserves. The tuition fee per semester at Victoria University is UGX 1.9M. Let’s at least see him through school this semester which starts on 19th Sept 2022. I am truly counting on all of us! Let’s support Omara, together. You can reach him directly via 0783 875309.