Ambrose Kamya: The Love Child Of Teenagers Who Has Fought For His Silver Spoon


Photo | Courtesy
“For the better part of my life I struggled with the feeling of rejection and sense of belonging. What has kept me going is my zeal to work hard and prove to the world that I have so much to offer for a better world.” Ambrose begins by pointing this out.

Tell us about your childhood and upbringing

I was born in 1989 by teen parents in Kiyunga Village in Eastern Uganda. My father and mother were in Senior four and Senior two, aged 19 and 18 respectively. 

When their parents heard the news, they were required to leave school to fend for the new born. My parents lived together briefly, and soon after my father had to leave to look for greener pastures. At that point he was working as a trader while my mother was a Primary School Teaching Assistant. The village grapevine was my father had impregnated two other girls and he had more responsibilities. The new family unit did not last, and both my parents went their separate ways and later remarried.

For the better part of my life, I moved from home to home living with either my mother, father or grandparents. This really affected my stability and even education since I kept changing schools.

I started living with my Dad in 1996 after having been with my Mom during my early years. In 2004, my father and stepmother could no longer pay my school fees and I had to drop out of school. They took me back to my mother who was raising three children by herself and consequently, she decided to send me to my grandmother.

Through granny’s intervention, one of my uncles, Mr Philip Kamya offered to pay my school fees in a local school (St Paul SSS Mbulamuti-Kamuli district) which was approximately 15 kilometers from our homestead. I had been living in the city and adopting to the village environment especially walking a long distance to school and intense garden chores was not easy. This affected my academic performance especially in Senior Six and I couldn’t secure government sponsorship. After much deliberations, it was decided that I repeat from Senior five and was taken to my mother in Kampala for me to get a better school. This time round I scored 16/24 points and secured a spot in Makerere University in 2014 where I went to pursue Bachelor of Science in Agriculture.

How was campus life?

For years, I struggled to connect with my sibling, additionally, I felt a big strain when it came to relate with my father. Getting to university felt like the biggest break in my life. Unfortunately, my joy was short-lived because in second year, I fell ill suddenly and was diagnosed with inflamated lungs. The condition was so bad that it interfered with my memory and there were moments when I could lose consciousness.

I had to persevere the pain for a while because I could not afford to pay for the medication. By the grace of God, one of my classmates, Ssentongo Daudi mobilized my classmates to support me and they managed to raise Ushs. 800,000. The funds covered my medication, but sadly I never got well. During one of my hospital visits a scan indicated that I had a clot in my kidney tubes. I felt like things were getting worse by the day and my hope in life was quickly fading.

When did the situation change?
Photo | Courtesy

In 2016, I was invited to an Easter camp in Entebe through the Life Changers Ministry and this is where my hope was restored. I believe that I had a supernatural experience which changed my life in a way that I am not able to explain.

Later that year, I had a lecturer called Prof. Fred Kabi who impacted my life not just through education but my entire way of living. To date he has been my mentor and role model. Prof has always encouraged me to use my knowledge to solve problems in my community and he has always believed in my abilities. 

Through his guidance I submitted a project that gave me an opportunity to take part in PREPARE BSC; a project that was offering career guidance across Uganda. Additionally, I was selected to be part of Pro Grov project which trains Masters and PHD students in Organic farming. During these projects, together with my colleagues we innovated a biosensor technology that tastes for pesticide residues in agricultural products.

In 2018, I was a finalist in Big Ideas challenge hosted by University of California Beckeley with Pest Tester-biosensor innovation. The project is now incubated at Makerere University and we won the 2018 National CURAD – SWISSCONTACT Innovation Challenge.

Tell us about Safe Bangle?

2018 was the year I took a keen interest in understanding my childhood and parents’ story. I came to learn that when I was still an infant my mother had been raped while my father was away working. She was then stigmatized by the community, and this strained on her relationship with father. I wondered whether something would have been done to save my mother and the other young girls who were being raped in the community. This is where my journey to develop Safe Bangle begun.

Ambrose wearing Safe Bangle Prototype
In March 2018, there was a call by Resilient Africa Network and UN Women for a Hackathon for people to help end violence against women and girls using technology. I applied for the Hackathon and worked together with other young minds to develop a solution. After being in incubation with Resilient Africa Network funded by UN Women for six months, Safe Bangle was born.

Safe bangle is a wearable that is developed for women and girls for them to protect themselves from assaults. When activated, it notifies different contacts as well as indicates the physical location of the person in danger.

My team was given UShs. 8M for prototyping and testing which we did in Norther Uganda. After making our presentation, UN Women agreed to extend the funding to 2 – 5 years. We are yet to finalize on the project.

Safe Bangle innovation also won the 2018 Makerere University College of ICT Annual Innovations challenge.

What an emotional story full of resilience from one hurdle after another and an ending of great achievements. Final Comments?

In my life I have faced many hurdles and almost got to appoint of despair but deep down I knew I had much to offer. I may not have had close relations with my parents or relatives, but God gave me great friends and a mentor to hold my hand. All I can say, don’t give up yet, your break is coming! Remember to always surround yourself with positive minds.


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Comments

  1. Such an inspiring story by Ambrose. I am glad that he came to terms with his situation and realized that we all have something to offer. God bless Him.
    And thank you Decent Conversations for always bringing this to light. It inspires a lot of people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true. His story is just touching and gives so much hope.

      As Decent Conversations our commitment is to empower, inspire and transform lives.

      Delete
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  3. A touching and Inspiring story from safe bangle. I wish him all the best

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  4. Big up brother...you are a role model to many

    ReplyDelete

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