By Charles Okalebo
Sylvester Kaggwa (RIP) and his wife Josephine Kaggwa, 70, had a dream of educating their children to at least university level.
Despite their humble background and their meagre income as peasant farmers in rural Nabisoigi village, Busiki county in present-day Namutumba district, the Kaggwas made their dream come true.
Part of their strategy was to save part of their daily earnings from as early as the 1970s. But being in a rural setting and not exposed to the banking system, they chose to keep the savings in a pot.
Josephine, however, says they could not afford money for opening a bank account, besides many other requirements.
Each day, the couple put aside at least sh500, most of which was proceeds from selling cotton. They kept it in the pot and whenever the school term opened, the family did not find problems sending their children back to school.
Not even the death of her husband in 2006 could dampen her determination to ensure her children got quality education. She continued with the family savings culture. Today, after decades of hard work, the Kaggwa family has reason to smile following their tremendous success in the field of education.
Joseph and his wife celebrating after their graduation from Makerere
All their 10 children are degree holders, with some going beyond the first degree. One of them, Dr. Peter Kaggwa, is a PhD holder.
He works with the Uganda Prisons Service as the principal internal auditor. Others include: Joseph Kaggwa, who works in the internal affairs ministry, Paul Kaggwa, who works with the Uganda Blood Bank in Jinja, Jimmy Dhikange, who is the head teacher of Nabisoigi Primary School in Namutumba district and Daudi Kaggwa, a lawyer.
Mary Nakagwa, the last born, is an employee of the Uganda Blood Bank, Mbale region. From a humble family, the Kaggwas are today a successful, prosperous and model family in Nabisoigi village and the entire Namutumba district.
What leaders say
Emmanuel Maganda and Prosy Magala, all district councillors for Kibaale sub-county in Namutumba district, say apart from serving as a role model, the Kaggwa family helps disadvantaged families.
They singled out Peter and Joseph who always support needy children in the village through provision of scholastic materials such as books and other necessities.
“They have also groomed most of the influential leaders at different levels in the area through sharing leadership skills and advising them on matters of development,” Maganda says.
Advice to parents
Josephine advises fellow parents to forego luxuries and save the little they earn and invest it in the education of their children.
“Today I am a happy old woman because I have no regrets and I can receive any kind of assistance I need from my 10 children because I toiled, saved and gave them an education,” she says.
She explains that she ensured all her children went to work in the garden early in the morning before going to school. This, she says, helped them appreciate the value of hard work before achieving anything in life.
“Some parents are reluctant to change their children’s attitude at an early age. It should be made clear to them that they have to work before thinking of eating or getting paid,” she says.
During the introduction of Nakagwa on December 22, 2012, many dignitaries turned up, including top politicians in Namutumba district and beyond.
Some of them included Namutumba district Woman MP Florence Mutyabule, LC5 chairperson Michael Saire, assistant commissioner human resource management Uganda Prisons Service Cox Anguzu and assistant commissioner accounts Uganda Prisons Service Harriet Naluzze.
they would walk bare-footed to school
Forrmer agriculture state minister Aggrey Bagiire, who is a family friend, says the success of the Kaggwa family has inspired several other people in the area to educate their children through hard work.
He notes that every time a member of the family graduated from university, they invited residents to the ceremony and, as a result, many others in the village emulated them.
Bagiire says amid all challenges, the parents and their children prioritised education. He adds that the children used to walk bare-footed for over 10km to the nearest primary school and it is gratifying that they all achieved success.
“These children were determined to perform better despite the hardships they went through while studying,” he says.