By Beatrice Langariti
Students have had bad press lately because of strikes they are engaged in, and these strikes have left a lot to be desired.
I have heard of stories where a student beat up a bar owner and his television when his football team lost. Because of such stories, it is very easy to judge them and write them off.
Somebody defined a student as one who is confused because they think they know where they are going and believe they don’t need anyone’s help. Along the way, they will realize, they do not know where they are going, and do need help.
One time, a young man, a first year student from one of the upcountry regions, narrated to me that he was very lonely and this had pushed him into prostitution. He had become addicted to prostitution and was seeking help on what to do.
To help him out, I found him a mentor who I thought would be of better help than myself and I continued to check on his progress. After a while, I lost track of his whereabouts until recently when I bumped into him in a restaurant all looking well-groomed and sleek. At first, I didn’t recognize him because he was much bigger and had grown a beard.
I learned that he had completed university a year ago, and he was working as one of the senior managers in a great organization. I couldn’t but be more thankful to see a young man who was at the brink of ruining his life with a bad decision but got turned around for the better because somebody believed in him and cared to invest time and energy.
The plight of students is quite unique and their needs are not about to stop.
I work with FOCUS (Fellowship Of Christian Unions) a Christian movement that has been around for the last 41 years and believes that students are worth the investment. We believe that if we can spend our time, our money, our energy, through mentoring, training and coaching we will see some positive impact. Students are leaders today and tomorrow. They are the hope of our nation. Today you have a student, tomorrow you do not know whom you have.
Today, all around the world through the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES) , countries are being mobilized to focus on students and thinking through how we can make a contribution to our society through the life of a student after all, they have a good side to them like anyone of us.
To all who are making a difference in the student world, long live!
The writer is the General Secretary, FOCUS Uganda