By Wandera Stephen
KIU, Main Campus – Irene Mirembe, a third-year student at Kampala International University pursuing a Bachelors of Arts in Education at the main campus doesn’t subscribe to the common norm of her peers to live beyond their means – a term popularly known as ‘slaying’.
Growing up in Katongole slum in Muyenga, a Kampala suburb, Mirembe was raised by a single parent, something that shaped her choices in life and the vigour with which she goes on with her daily routine.
Her routine is majorly shaped by work regardless of the perception of people that as a girl and university student, she shouldn’t delve into working at such an age. Her major aspiration is to put food on the table as long as it is legal.
“My mum’s salary was barely enough to cover up my tuition as well as that of my siblings. At first, I wanted to pursue a degree in Quantity Surveying but the cost was too much for my mum and me to handle. So, she asked me to either pursue a hairdressing course or a Bachelors of Education of which when I approached Kampala International University, I was admitted to do,” Mirembe says.
As a result of lacking enough money to pay for a Bachelors of Arts in Education, she had to search for an alternative to complement the tuition her mother could raise as a casual labourer with KCCA.
The breakthrough came during her first internship when she returned to her former school to carry out school practice.
“I approached my former school last year after school practice for a vacancy and I was given an opening. I was recruited to handle Geography and Fine Art and promised a monthly pay of 200,000 shs,” she reveals.
“I complemented this new income with making cupcakes which I used to supply to grocery lockups nearby and schools. This brought a sigh of relief and it helped me raise the much-needed finances,” she adds
However, with the lockdown that was imposed on March 18 by President Yoweri Museveni as a measure to curb the spread of COVID-19, Mirembe was robbed of her earnings calling for an alternative means of income.
Mirembe credits KIU for availing the e-learning platform for students to continue studies during the lockdown.
“The online studies were a great help to the students during this time when lectures in lecture rooms were unthinkable. The lessons were interactive and one could revisit the clips downloaded severally to the student’s satisfaction unlike the traditional lectures where the lecturer is limited to the times of the lectures,” Mirembe says.