Last week, Edward Kasenge, a Makerere University graduate’s pictures of him kneeling and thanking his grandmother for paying his school fees went viral.
In an Interview with NTV, Kasenge narrated his turbulent journey from being rejected by his biological parents to graduating from his dream university.
Kasenge’s troubles began at the age of one, when he was abandoned by both his parents. It’s here that his grandparents took him up and insisted on later taking him to their home.
“My mother brought me here when I was one year old and she left me here,” a tearful Kasenge said in the interview.
From there, his grandmother Tewo Muleebe, who sold charcoal in a small room near their house started taking care of him, and assisted him with school fees from kindergarten until he completed his school.
Kasenge narrated that hopes of getting accepted by his parents were crashed during a family meeting where his father denounced him as his son in front of the whole family.
“I knew my day had come to an end,” he says of the moment.
Kasenge says, however, his father has been coming to their home to check on his grandparents.
“Because he is my father, I don’t have any other father. He was around but I think he didn’t see any essence of educating me but he saw the essence of educating my siblings”
When Kasenge reached Primary One, Muleebe then a food stuff seller at Kitunzi Market and a sister to his grandfather joined hands with Kasenge’s grandmother to raise school fees for him.
“They raised the money they could raise and that’s where Uganda Microfinance came in. So, they could go for a loan and top up,” he recalls.
Away from school, Kasenge would help both women with work. Whenever he came back from school he would help his grandmother vend avocados and jackfruits to help her raise money to take care of family and pay his school fees.
He also used to work as a cleaner in a nearby supermarket from where he earned some money to cater for his transport to school.
“There is a supermarket which was in the trading centre. Most of my friends used to believe it’s our supermarket but it wasn’t ours. I used to come and collect rubbish, that rubbish they keep in cans. I come, I clean the supermarket, they give me the money. So, thats the money I used to use to transport myself to school”
Like any other child, Kasenge had wishes of joining a good secondary school. This dream came to reality when one of his aunties funded his senior one first term at Mengo Senior School.
Kasenge like many children coming from poor families later forgot where he came from, joined a peer group of friends something that affected his academic performance.
He failed exams and was asked to repeat. The situation didn’t change in his A’ Level as he again failed exams due to lack of concentration.
Kasenge’s poor academic performance was a huge disappointment to his grandparents who had sacrificed a-lot to raise school fees for him for all the years.
“They were disappointed in me. I told them I need one chance like this. Give me a chance”
After convincing his grandmother for a second chance, he repeated Senior Six, later passing to join his dream University.
“I went to Makerere University, I applied, I was given a Bachelors in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and I did it.”
At Makerere, the hustle never stopped as Kasenge used to collect rubbish from people’s homes to earn some money.
His dedication and refocus led him to success, graduating with a 2nd Class Upper degree.
Last week, upon graduating, Kasenge alongside his friends walked to Kitunzi market, Lungujja where his grandmother works, knelt and thanked her for paying his school fees.
Describing the eventful day, Kasenge’s grandmother recalls excitement seeing his grandson in a gown which she attributes to God’s grace.
“I feel sorry for those who do not take care of their children. You can never know what God has in store for you,” Muleebe says.
She says she was surprised to see his grandson coming to show appreciation to her unlike many other children who prefer not to do so to their parents.
“It’s not easy. Most children wouldn’t want to show that this is where I come from. He wasn’t embarrassed. He came and knelt down to give his thanks,” Muleebe says.
Kasenge also recognizes his grandfather who he says sacrificed a-lot to see him pursue his dream.
“His daughter and sons sent him money to go for the check up for the ears and also get medication but for him he just gave me the money to go and clear the campus and the end of the day, he no longer hears well”
Now that he graduated, Kasenge has now gone back to help his highly indebted grandparents.