09 Aug
  • By Isaac Msiska
  • Cause in

Fell seven times, stood up eight

Born in a family of seven, life had never been easy for Muberuka. He and his family fled Rwanda, his country of birth, before he was old enough to begin school. They found refuge in Dzaleka refugee camp in Malawi where Muberuka did his primary school education at the local government primary school. His father, after earning some money through small scale agricultural business moved them to the city in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe.

Life seemed to have taken a bright turn for Muberuka in 2010 when he was selected to pursue his secondary school education at a public secondary school in Mzuzu. However, a year later the light quickly dimmed. There were violent demonstrations held in the country which caused a lot of pillage and destruction of property. Muberuka’s family was not spared in the ruckus. They were among the victims that lost much of their property during the fracas hence forcing them to move back to Dzaleka refugee camp.

“The demonstrators took away everything and my family had to start from scratch so we had to go back to the camp.” said Muberuka.

In the years that followed, Muberuka and his family went through a rough time. Money became a problem leading to Muberuka missing two whole terms of school. He was then in form two and had two more years remaining to complete his secondary education. The frustration that Muberuka was going through doubled in 2014 when his father got sick and Muberuka suddenly found himself as the head of the family. His father’s sickness meant that he had to take over the responsibility of caring for the family. The situation meant that he had to alternate between studying and looking after his mother and siblings – which took a toll on him.

“I was emotionally stressed. I could not focus on my studies because I often thought about who was going to look after my younger siblings.” Muberuka reflected.

The greatest challenge was that the sad turn of events happened in the same year that Muberuka was supposed to sit for the final and crucial examinations in secondary school, the Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE). Preparing for the examinations while silmutaneously faced with the huge task of caring for his family was a heavy burden to Muberuka, who was only 19 at that time. Besides taking care of his mother and siblings, he had to fend for himself and his education and this was extremely difficult.

“Although I did everything I could to care for my family, I struggled to find money for the most basic necessities and at the same time I had to find my own means of sourcing tuition, pocket money and transport.” He said.

In spite of the struggles and hardships, Muberuka pushed on and managed to write his MSCE examinations. However, with all the distractions going on he did not manage to pass but the young man never gave up. He was determined to make it at all costs. With that determination driving him, he re-sat the examination again in 2015 and this time he made it. Although hope was once again restored, another problem was lurking in the shadows. That problem was to do with accessing university scholarship.

Muberuka’s ambition was to make it to college but with his financial state, he knew that it would be impossible to afford college education. He desperately needed a scholarship. Twice he attempted to apply for a particular international university scholarship program but he never succeeded. For the first time he felt like giving up and settling for a lesser life.

Muberuka shared his problems with a friend who introduced him to our university scholarship programme. Wasting no time Muberuka applied for a place in the programme and this year, he finally had his wishes come true. He was among our 16 university scholarship awardees for 2018. Muberuka is now pursuing a degree in accounting at a local private university. Actually, accounting was what Muberuka always aspired to do.

“Accounting is more than a profession. It is a way of life. A lot of people remain poor because they are not able to manage their money. I intend to change that,” Muberuka said, adding that one day he would like to be part of a think-tank that would help Malawi to establish a stable economy.