For those of us that have gone to school and studied and read books, there will be hope.

Emmanuel, refugee, Uganda
Home Refugees Reading to fulfil dreams

Reading to fulfil dreams

Emmanuel Juma is the Head Boy of Ofua Secondary School in Rhino Refugee Camp in northern Uganda. In 2016 he travelled from South Sudan to the camp and has been working hard at school to achieve his goals ever since. This is his story.

My name is Emmanuel Juma, I am the head boy within the school and I’m 20 years old.

I’m a refugee from a poor family in South Sudan and now I’m so grateful that I am in senior three here at school. I am the only person who has reached senior three in my family. I believe that if things go well, tomorrow life will be great – the doors of education have already been opened. 

There is an education gap – people are poor in education in many places, and we are grateful that when we people come to a place like this one, all of us will have a good education so that tomorrow, we change our family background, and we change also our entire country! 

Christine (Head Girl) and Emmanuel (Head Boy)

Bad things happen in South Sudan I believe because of ignorance. Most of us are illiterate. That’s why people end up fighting. So, I’m so grateful for this school and for your continued support of us.

In my dream, I want to become a doctor. In my village where I came from, people are really poor and are suffering. So I feel pity, so when I grew up I will become a doctor and I will have to go to my village and make a health centre so that my people receive good treatment. So, this is my plan!

Books are helping us a lot. They have helped us to discover and learn a lot of things and when you revise them, you discover other stories that can inspire you. People talk about their backgrounds in their books and it helps you see that no condition is permanent in life.

Stories show people who struggle and show you that you can’t get something easily without any hard work. So, I like reading stories because they motivate me to achieve my career.

The library room at Emmanuel’s school

When you go to the library, you ask questions and read things for yourself, so you are able to get knowledge that you can use in class. It would be impossible to learn everything in class from teachers, but these books mean that we can learn ourselves.

I will be happy when more books have been brought to help the student here to discover more things from the library, because the number of books that are here, compared to the number of students we have now, is too small. If someone has borrowed a book you need, you aren’t able to do that research.

More books mean more students can revise, so they will have great wisdom and knowledge for the betterment of tomorrow. 

A typical refugee home in Rhino Camp

School is power. It is stronger than money, it is stronger than everything. We are not studying books only because we want jobs. But because we want wisdom and knowledge, we want to be able to discover new things and that’s why I’m saying school is the best thing because it could help us a lot. It can remove hatred and it can help to fix things. So I love school.

Because of education, we are upgraded. We see people who build houses, engineers, doctors… we are seeing aeroplanes flying in the air, all because of education.

For those of us that have gone to school and studied and read books, there will be hope.

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