Teachers’ day: meet Olivia, from a child sponsored to teacher

Every year the Distance Support Program transforms the lives of 3,000 young people in Uganda by increasing their capabilities and those of their families through education.  

Countries Uganda
Date 05.10.2022

Olivia teaches at a primary school and for her this place is like a second home

Olivia teaches mathematics at Luuka’s Name Primary School and here is where she spends most of her days while her husband Anthony works in a retail shop downtown.

But the path to get here has not been easy: in 2015, when Olivia was in her third year of high school, her father faced a tough financial period as he struggled to care for his six children by himself, and the school costs had become unaffordable.


When I was 16 I could already notice hardships but I took them lightly, and when needs such as sugar began waning at home, my father became more and more anxious.
I feared how we would survive. When I sat at my desk in class, I was scared that my name would be called among the school fees defaulters and I would be sent home – my dad was by now finding real hardships to pay our tuition.

Olivia says

Olivia was never sent home - thanks to the intervention of Sister Margaret, a social worker with Kiyunga Social Service Center, one of the Distance Support Program implementing partners in Luuka District who in 2015 noticed the situation and after visiting Olivia's father at their home, enrolled her in the Distance Support Program.

Kiyunga Social Service Center supports 159 children and their families in Luuka District with their education needs and empowers their parents to become self-reliant through financial literacy trainings, formation of savings groups, and supporting them with start-up capital for their businesses of choice.

She smiles as she recalls her secondary school years when she enjoyed spending time with her classmates and Sister Margaret after she could now concentrate on her studies without having to worry about unpaid tuition. Her best school memories are when she played volleyball and worked in the school garden with the religious nuns.

Olivia excelled in secondary school and, with the help of AVSI Foundation, progressed her education. In 2018, she graduated from Bishop Willis Primary Teachers College with a certificate in teaching.

"Having my dream come true made me happy and as a result, I am now a teacher and a responsible mother to Morris and John. I will fund my children’s schooling so that they can pursue their studies without stress and establish a future.”

In 2022, the Distance Support Program in Uganda equipped 2,223 young people with the knowledge and abilities they needed to take charge of their own lives and build a more equitable and sustainable society.