A small village in Kumi district known to many as Kalapata had its voices heard after it received its first ever private primary school. This milestone was achieved after the son of the soil Mr. Okiror John Stephen received and invested his NSSF benefits in a school.
Mr. John Stephen Okiror, an accountant by profession worked with the Uganda Revenue Authority for 22 years decided to opt for an early retirement at the age of 50years.In 2016, Okirol applied and received Shs100 millions as his NSSF benefits. At that time, he had many ideas running in his mind, some of them coming from relatives and friends. Some of the ideas included fixing benefits for a certain period time, transport business and farming.
Okirol whose love for education is unmeasurable felt that the right idea was still missing among the options given to him at the moment. He zeroed down on constructing a school in one of the remotest areas in this country, Kalapata, Kumi district. Passion alone was not enough for him to construct a school, the community members after realizing that one of their own had a good plan, they gave him 4 free acres of land.
“For a long time, Arapata village had never had this kind of education services we offering today, it’s very unfortunate that in this 21st century, a pupil of Primary Seven can’t speak a single word in English. What is more alarming is that this pupil is expected to compete with fellows in urban areas who speak English like it’s their first language,” Okiror said with grief on his face.
Kapalata Parents and Primary School officially started in 2018 with 80 students and now the numbers have increased up to 300. Okiror attributes the increase of pupils to the unique teaching standards and providing scholarships to bright but unprivileged pupils from the community. The Nursery section pays Shs50,000 and the Primary section pays Shs60,000-100,000 for tuition which is reasonable for the community.
Beyond providing education, Kalapata Parents and Primary School has gone on to empower the community by giving them contracts to supply food and firewood. According to Mr. Okiror John, this has increased believability of the School among the community members.
Despite being a long-term investment with minimal returns, Kalapata Parents and Primary School has managed to register success stories. These include; improvement in performance of pupils, employment opportunities especially for the teaching and non-teaching staff.
“Kalapata being one of the most affected areas during the insurgency instigated by the Lords’ Resistance Army under the command of the war lord Joseph Kony, challenges are still outcompeting the successes but this has not taken away the hope of the community,” Okiror explained
Kalapata is a village of hardworking people and all the future plans of the school such as constructing dormitory and a staffroom are going to be achieved in the targeted period of time.
Okiror who was surprised to be called by the Fund to participate in the beneficiaries’ campaign dubbed NSSF Friends with Benefits, first hesitated but after sometime of consultations, he was convinced to take part in the competition. Okiror believes that his story is worth telling because he is the only born of the village who has ever worked and made such an investment that helps to improve the literacy levels of the community members.
A very optimistic Okiror believes that he will win the ultimate prize money and he plans to use the same to construct a dormitory and a school library. He believes that this will improve the welfare of the pupils and increase recruitment especially those that come from distant places.
Mr. Okiror calls on everyone either in formal or informal employment to opt for saving with NSSF because it’s the only organization one can trust with his/her future. He continued to applaud the fund for their quick response in the process of accessing the benefits.
To vote for Mr. Okiror John Stephen in the NSSF Friends with Benefits competition, dial *254# or go to www.nssfug.org.