A successful class depends on a good teacher, and we have found a good one in Justine Nabutiti. She was born in the infamous muddy landslide district of Bududa, in eastern Uganda, one of seven children.
Justine said, "Our family depended on the efforts of my dad a casual farm worker, yet what he earned was just peanuts and it could not maintain us in school. My mother never worked for money due to health issues, so when I was young she only stayed home to monitor the daily house chores. So it was my own garden hoe that educated me.”
After primary school, Justine worked as a nanny and housemaid for two years, and it was with this money she earned that she managed to pay for her first term of high school. This became her routine, working as a nanny during every school vacation to make it through the next semester. By working through all her free time, Justine was able to make it through most of high school. But not quite.
At the age of 18, Justine got into a relationship after she missing a couple of semesters of school because she couldn’t earn enough money for tuition. She was hoping the boy, a classmate, would help pay her school fees. Justine says, “I did all this because of the love I had for education.” But she realized her mistake when all she got from it was pregnancy at an early age. Fortunately her father stood up for her and convinced the school to allow her to sit her final exams. (Usually schools will not allow a girl who gets pregnant to finish school at all.)
But poverty didn’t stop Justine from achieving. Once again, Justine was able to work to save up her own money for a college course. She is the only one in her family who successfully finished school, graduating from a primary teacher’s college in another distant district.
Justine says she feels a drive that pushes her to change her life for the better, and this gives the strength to focus and keep on trying. She now runs her own nursery and kindergarten school back in her home village, and also has a goal of soon eliminating illiteracy among adults in the community.
In 2017, Justine stepped in for her mother, Esther Mwenyi, who had overcome her health issues and become one of our pioneer literacy teachers, when she fell sick once again. Justine quickly proved her worth her skills from college, and even more so by her brilliant, strong personality. DCI tested and interviewed her through our rigorous recruitment process before appointing her officially as our teacher for Bududa. She is jolly, patient, understanding, and very passionate about teaching.