Bullied MAK fresher wants shs2m to clear school fees debt

Henry Ssuubi Kiyimba

Henry Ssuubi Kiyimba, who turned into a cyberbully victim for carrying a metallic suitcase to Makerere University as a first-year student, is stuck with a sh2m fee debt at his former school.

Ssuubi completed his A ’ level at St Bruno Sserunkuma SS Ggoli, where he says he defaulted fees for two years.

“ There are school fees balance of sh2m. The school management knew my condition and could not send me away because I showed commitment to my studies. However, the school needs the money, ” Ssuubi said.

He came to the limelight after a one Emmanuel Aupal posted his picture on Twitter, mocking him for carrying what he described as a high school box to university.

On Tuesday last week, Ssuubi reported for his year one first semester at Makerere University, carrying what Aupal described as a blue metal suitcase in one hand and the ‘ Ousofia ’ plastic bag in another.

He is to pursue a bachelor of science with education and economics. Ugandans on twitter, led by BBC journalist Alan Kasujja and UBC’ s Cederic Babu particularly put up a frantic campaign to help Ssuubi meet his living expenses at the university.

On Saturday, Joy Ruth Acheng, Uganda ’ s high commissioner to Canada, paid a courtesy visit to Ssuubi at Makerere University and donated to him a new laptop to help him do his course work.

“ I learned about him on social media. So, I took the initiative to visit him, to know who he is and to encourage him. I told him it is not the expensive suitcase or clothes that make one a great person. Many of us came from poor backgrounds, but it is through hard work that everything changes, ” Ambassador Acheng said.

She advised Ssuubi whose name means hope, to remain hardworking, honest and humble in order to become successful. She also implored Ssuubi to stick to academics and avoid non-academic pleasures that might destruct his education dream .

“Have good peers that will encourage you, not the ones that will tell you, ‘ Ssuubi today is Friday, let’s go to club .’ No, do not do that because you know where you are coming from, ” Acheng said .

Ssuubi narrated to the ambassador how life in the family of eight has not been an easy one, having been raised by a single mother, Rose Nalwanga, a primary school teacher . Ssuubi said his father occasionally visits the family in a space of every four months .

He said their mother has worked tirelessly, to enable him and his siblings attain education . Ssuubi is the first child in the family to join university after he qualified for a government scholarship on national merit .

He noted that his mother did not have money to buy a new suitcase, and decided to use the old one he used during his secondary school . Hailing from Kamengo in Mpigi district, Ssuubi hopes to teach for a short time after completing his education degree and study civil engineering, which is his dream course .

He took off time to advise fellow disadvantaged children to follow their dreams and not to be swayed by the children of the rich .

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Patrick Luwagga is the editorial director of cross-platform content for UGANDANZ. He works across the newsroom and with business partners to drive and develop ambitious editorial projects that include digital journalism, video, data research, polling, live events, and thought-leadership series that are supported by outside underwriting. As executive director, he is responsible for the creation of Political news section, prior to joining UGANDANZ, Patrick was the chief editor for the national weekly news magazine of Kasese Times. In that role, he covered several presidential elections, wrote and produced two television documentaries, and was a regular commentator on television and radio news programs. Patrick was born in Masaka and grew up in Kasese. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Makerere University where he was a Knight Foundation journalism fellow.