My name is Martin and I am from Uganda, Kampala and from Naguru, studying software engineering at Monaco Institute of Business and Computer Science. I’m a hockey player and a coach and I’m one of the Hockey Dreams Coaches in Uganda.

It was 2019 when everything changed when COVID-19 was detected in China and after it spread to all the world, in Uganda the 1st case was confirmed on 21st March 2020 after the closure of all school, institutes and universities in the country on 20 March 2020.

Most of the kids were sent home and online classes were conducted in the country for some education institutes which are capable. But unfortunately, most of the kids in my community were unable to get that chance due to the price of the study equipment. So, I found a way to keep myself and them busy and I started teaching my nephews and nieces at my mum’s place. Every morning as time goes by, other kids and parents from the community brought their kid to join.

The number got bigger and bigger to around 20 kids, which violated the SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) and the chairman stopped me from teaching. I could go ahead by teaching my nephews and nieces because they were only 6 kids, and after some time parents of some of the kids I was teaching contacted me again. They asked me to start teaching their kid by going to their homes and of course I said yes!

I was teaching those who were in candidates class to prepare them for the national exams, and I ended up doing 3 sessions in 3 different homes as well as I am teaching my nephews and nieces. When the first lockdown was extended, schools were opened for the candidates only to resume with studies. This made me happy because all the kids passed their national exams in the 1st grade and this gave confidence to more parents to trust me to teach their kids. It gave me goose bumps that I was looked upon by most of the kids in my community and the parents and kids started calling me teacher.

Of course, I had to concentrate on my own studies too. Since institutes were not open yet, I found a way by joining the online self-teach classes and enrolled for different programmes in the field of software engineering. On the side, I continued teaching a few kids. And the fact that outdoor sports were open again, made them have something that keeps them busy from doing bad stuff and joining bad groups. During this period, I only have one kid am teaching, she is now in primary 6 but her parents want her to join primary 7 when schools are open again. It’s my challenge make her reach primary 7 and pass the national exams too. Hope and pray that she can make it!

Now that outdoor sports are open, I am happy that I’ll be starting to coach and train the kids in my community again, as well as teaching my students. I love coaching, it makes me share the knowledge I have with others in the community. My friends and some parents of the kids we train tell me I should go and study education, because they say I make a good teacher. For now I’m teaching because I like to share what I know with those who need help, and I am studying Software Engineering and that has my full focus now. Maybe after my graduation I’ll go for education and become a teacher of Software Engineering or Information Computer Technology (ICT). I hope and pray it comes true for me!

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