Benedict Ocaka, 25, was awarded a first class bachelor’s degree in Agriculture and Community Development at Bishop Stuart University (BSU) in Mbarara District at their recent graduation. He was among the 1,773 students the institution awarded degrees, diplomas, and certificates in different disciplines.
Ocaka narrettes how he has been struggling with feee,”my elder brother Geoffrey Komakech who had completed Senior Six suggested one day that we should lay bricks in our village. We made 12,000 bricks which we sold and earned Shs100,000 as profit. I paid my fees for Senior Five, first term at Kitgum Comprehensive College in 2014. I was doing Biology, Agriculture, and Geography (BAG).
During holidays, he burnt charcoal in the village and sold a bag between Shs 80,000 and 90,000 which he used to clear his school dues.
He recalls that Every Friday, “I would ride a bicycle for 42km from Kitgum Town to the village in Lamwo to collect charcoal and food items such as sorghum and millet. I also cultivated with my parents at the weekend and miss weekend lessons such as Biology practicals until am done with my A-level.”
One man advised him to join a private security company in Kampala and earn.
“I met a man from Securex Security Company at Centenary Bank Kitgum who told me to prepare my documents for recruitment but I could not afford fare to Kampala. He suggested that I find two more recruits and he pay our fare. I obliged. We trained in January 2017,” he says.
A month later, they were passed to start work and he opted for Mbarara City because of an affordable cost of living.
He says that his salary was Shs 150,000 and he first saved Shs 1.3m. applied for intake in 2018, where he was admitted. His schedule from 5.30pm to 7.30am allowed him to join the regular programme.
“I only spent Shs30,000 on meals every month as I saved for tuition. My meal comprised mukene and posh,” Ocaka notes.
During the course of the semester, a friend advised him to apply to the students’ loan scheme which he did and qualified. This allowed him to concentrate on his studies. Ocaka was the second student in the history of BSU to score a CGPA of 4.42 in Agriculture and Community Development.
Ocaka resigned from his job after graduation and he is currently looking for a new Job. He dreams of becoming one of the greatest scientists, academician and researcher in Uganda. He plans to pursue a Master’s in Crop Science.
Congratulations Mr Ocaka