Faced with circumstances that could not only ruin their future but condemn them to a life of misery and regrets, Philippa and Immaculate knew that success is their only way out.
Growing up, Lakareber has always wanted to become a medical doctor. She had promised herself that one day she’ll make her mother proud. Mother has been her pillar in a polygamous household displaced by war in northern Uganda that landed them beyond the Nile River in Kiryandongo district.
Beyond the river, there was peace as the guns were silent but soon relatives begun flocking in and young Philippa found herself in a family of more than 50; all in dire need of food and shelter. All they could afford was one meal a day. The situation was overwhelming for her jobless father. Parental care and love were a distant wish as survival became the priority.
Lakareber, the last of the only two surviving children out of seven born to her mother, had to journey on foot for long distances in order to reach government school that offers free education at primary level. Even though education was free, scholastic materials weren’t. Mother had to step up in a big way.
At secondary, education wasn’t free but by that time her mother had become a school teacher. She had to split the little she had to educate her children and keep some to look after the family. Seeing how her mother was struggling with loans in order to make ends meet, Lakareber determined in her heart that she must become a successful woman and save her family. This is when things begun changing for good and her academic performance improved – so much that she became the best female student from the school at national exams, UCE.
“I felt there was a future that is not visible to me right now but it is somewhere and I believed in it so much,” says Lakareber of her determination to finish her education. “The friends with whom we grew up together ended up in early marriages but I was so determined.”
Her good grades at O’ level made the school head teacher offer her free education for her A’ level but before she could begin, the head teacher was transferred and the new one wouldn’t let her study for free. It was a huge set back but her mother, as usual, had a plan.
She would go ahead to secure for her daughter admission to the Lacor Nursing School. For Lakareber, this was an opportunity of a life time. She wouldn’t trade it for any comforts of this world. She had to pray, come out of her comfort zones at night and go after her dreams. Her performance kept rising and by the time she sat her final exams, she had a CGPA of 5.0, the highest score in the country.
“I am grateful because the life I went through made me who I am right now. It hardened me and prepared me to face the future,” she says.
Quoting from Michelle Obama, one of her role models, Lakareber said; “You should never view your challenges as a disadvantage. Instead, it’s important for you to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages.”
Today, Lakareber is inspired by the obstacles she faced in life to step forward, without giving up so as to gain higher grounds. Lacor Hospital has offered her a permanent job and she hopes to further her education from her earnings and make use of the hospital’s scholarship program as well.
Elolu Caroline Immaculate
If resilience was a person, that would be Elolu. Having joined Lacor Health Training Institute as an enrolled midwife for a Diploma in Midwifery in 2018, a course that usually takes two years, Elolu had to wait until 2023 to graduate.
Her path to success was littered with so many obstacles, especially retakes in her exams. “My friends had already gone and I was left alone at school with those who followed me. At first, I wanted to stop the studies but the Bursar told me to continue,” she recalls.
What makes Elolu’s story special is the fact that she decided to go back to school at 48. She’s now 54 years old and a graduate. Her’s is a testament, that failure is a temporary delay on the road to success.
Inspired by her mother to become a midwife, the mother of three loves helping women give birth. It gives her joy seeing them hold their babies for the first time.
Elolu left Lacor on 23rd February 2023, not only with a Diploma in Midwifery but also with a Resilience Award given by the Hospital and a story to tell. The jubilant midwife had to make a stopover in town for a small party before making her way back to Kalaki, a distant district in the East.
The journey that was once filled with anxiety and distress turned into the most beautiful journey of her life with every mileage bearing witness to her remarkable achievement. Success is indeed intentional – not accidental. So, carry on dear woman of valor. Happy Women’s Day from all of us at Lacor.