Since beginning his studies in 2008, Sebastiane and his friends at Uganda Christian University watched their classmates dwindle in number, many dropping out of school due to the death of a parent or financial barriers. Sebastiane, a Compassion International sponsored child and appointed class leader in Compassion’s Leadership Development Program (LDP), felt a deep burden to help these students but wasn’t quite sure how.
In 2011, as part of a Vision Conference by Transforming Nations Alliance (TNA)–the DNA local network in Uganda (read more about TNA’s partnership with Compassion)–Sebastiane learned about Seed Projects which are small acts of service done in one’s community using only local resources. From this training, Sebastiane and his friends developed a concept for helping students who struggle with finances, engaging the rest of the Compassion LDP family in this effort with the slogan “serving to save a buddy.”
In February 2012, the initiative became a reality through a week-long fundraising drive called Compassion Week, receiving support from students, faculty and administration. To date, seven of these drives have raised a total of 5 million Ugandan shillings or about $2,000 USD, supporting more than 80 students. The money is funneled through the university’s financial-aid office to fulfill students’ outstanding school fees.
Other fundraising activities help sustain the fund, including shoe polishing, car washing, donation boxes, contributions from university staff, and advocacy on behalf of the students in classrooms, churches and other gathering spaces.
“TNA inspired me to have a positive and Biblical worldview which has helped me to discover that I am blessed,” says Sebastiane. “I was inspired to be a visionary and to develop a personal mission that made me not only a dreamer but also an achiever and a blessing. I have since been able to discover my various competencies and abilities which I am actively exploiting.”
Sebastiane says he wants to be a leader who sets a positive example for others to follow. He is the director of an advocacy group called PRENT (Professional Reach Enterprises), and he has helped several other Seed Projects come to fruition: health campaigns, supporting needy women and vulnerable families, empowering women and youth, and advocating for social justice–especially against lawlessness. Click here to learn more about these programs. He has a whole bank of ideas for addressing poverty, disease, domestic violence and unemployment in his community.
Sebastiane, 24, completed his bachelor’s degree in agricultural sciences and entrepreneurship in 2012. He hopes to pursue a master’s degree in organizational leadership and management, and he welcomes partnerships with like-minded individuals and ministries interested in his work.
Click here to read more about Sebastiane’s background, and you may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.