When School is an Enjoyable Experience for Teenagers

22 January 2024|Rosette Komuhangi

Related: Education, Uganda

A typical teenager struggles to attend school because it is a stage in life where concentration and general interest in engagement is a challenge. This is different for two teenage girls that we spoke to. They have only good things to say about school!

Tabitha Akuol Awuok, 17, and Anna Yar Achiek, 18, are South Sudan refugee girls who moved to Uganda at different times but for the same reason. They were fleeing war and came with their parents and guardians. They both had a rough journey but seem to want to say little about that journey and are more enthused about the fact that they are in school.

Tabitha and Anna in the window of a classroom

They said settling in Adjumani was tough because of their limited resources and the fact that they had to leave their homes. The two teenagers are quick to share their success of being enrolled in secondary school.

They are students of Nyumanzi Secondary School in Adjumani District attending Senior One. They are students on the JRS scholarship and could not hide the excitement that they made it to the scholarship list.

When asked why they think it is crucial that they are in school, Tabitha says it is one way for her to have a bright future because she knows that education improves lives. Despite her shy demeanor, she boldly talks about education as the one thing that will give her a better future.

With education, I am unstoppable. My life can never be the same because when you are educated, you can easily find jobs
Tabitha Akuol Awuok

Tabitha wants to pursue nursing because she admires how nurses ‘carry themselves’ and are assured of finding employment since there is a significant need for nurses worldwide.

For Anna, being on scholarship has given her hope that she will achieve her dream of becoming a teacher and be able to pass on knowledge and earn good money to improve her family life.

As young South Sudanese girls being in school at this age takes the courage of their parents to work against cultural expectations of marrying these young girls off and an opportunity for a scholarship.


The school has offered them a place to go to chase after their dreams and to run away from the dangers of staying idle.

They both said they enjoy every bit of school because when they are among other learners, it gives them hope that there are many like-minded young people.

Anna talked about how wearing a school uniform gives her a kick and the confidence that it was the right thing to do, to join school despite the many challenges she faces back at home. For Tabitha, the friends she has made in the last year make her school experience more enjoyable.

JRS offers scholarships for young refugee students to give them hope for the future.