By Lindsay Allen | Project Manager: Americas educating-a-nationOne of our partners in Uganda, Father’s Divine Love Ministries (FDLM), recently celebrated with a young woman named Mary as she graduated from university. Her degree is in secondary school education with a concentration in English literature. In a country where only 9% of the population enrolls in university level courses, and of that 9% only 37% are females*, this wonderful accomplishment becomes even more significant.

Mary has made a habit of defying the odds. In 1995, Mary was an infant when she lost her father to AIDS. As time went on, all of her siblings had to drop out of school due to a lack of resources. But Mary did not want to give up on her education. Her family, like all of us at some time or another, needed some assistance. In 2005, FDLM intervened in her life, and gave her a chance to continue with her education. Pastor David of FDLM has always believed that the key to educating a nation lies within the girls who will become women. Those women will become mothers and those mothers will then educate their own children.

Ten years after Mary first met Pastor David and FDLM, she graduated from university. In addition, while she was in college, she was offered a great job and got engaged! This young woman who was orphaned as a baby and had no chance at getting an education, is now breaking the cycle of poverty. She has a college degree, a secure job, and a godly, well-educated fiancé. Now she is beginning her career as a teacher, where she will shape the future of countless high school students.

Mary’s future students hold the future of Uganda. They too may have faced adversity at a young age. Growing up in one of the poorest countries in the world tends to make receiving an education more difficult, and being born a girl means the expectations placed on your life are much lower than those of a boy. But Mary defied the odds and shattered expectations, and soon she will be educating and motivating a generation of young people to do the same.

*according to World Bank data