Janet is a 21 year old nursing student in Uganda. She was born and raised in a small village with her parents and 6 siblings. She grew up in a 1-room hut, made of grass and mud, covered with a thatched roof. Throughout the years, Janet’s family was greatly affected by flooding. Crops, homes, and livelihoods could be ruined in just one storm; leaving her family struggling to rebuild.
Both Janet’s parents and grandmother were unable to get an education and were forced to farm the land around them for little pay. Sadly, Janet’s father died when she was just a child. With no primary breadwinner, Janet’s mother and grandmother struggled to save enough money for her education, and were eventually able to pay the fees up until secondary education. Tragedy struck again when her mother suffered a stroke leaving her paralyzed. With her older brother developmentally handicapped, Janet and her remaining siblings were left alone to care for him, their mother, and their aging, disabled grandmother.
With no money for schooling, Janet and her siblings had to farm for work to buy food and necessities; sadly, an education was not considered a necessity. Every day, Janet worked the land so she could earn enough funds for 1kg of food to feed her entire family.
Just when hope was starting to fade, Janet was granted a scholarship to continue her secondary studies on through university. She and her younger siblings all started school this August.
Having seen illness detrimentally affect several members of her family, Janet now dreams of a career aiding the sick. She wants to be a nurse and hopes to focus on those patients with disabilities, along with people who are too poor to afford proper care. Janet wants to ensure her medical services are always available to those in need and wishes to give free treatment and vaccinations to people in her village.
When we asked Janet why it is important to educate women in Uganda, she answered: “Most women are neglected. In our family, our relatives refused to tolerate me. They told us, ‘you go to marriage, you go to marry.’ Most women are not considered…If I become a nurse, I would teach everyone about family planning, AIDs and water safety. I would advise those that are patients to always take AIDs drugs when needed, and drink clean, safe water.”