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Before and After: The Difference Education Made for Runako

Before Runako was matched with a Holt sponsor who helped her go to school, she was shy, insecure and falling behind academically. But today, Runako is a star pupil who sings in the choir and has many friends! This is the difference education makes in a girl’s life.


Runako is the middle child of a single mother, who works hard to provide for all five of her children with the income from a small farm. Runako wanted to go to school, but she couldn’t attend consistently because her mother couldn’t afford education for all five children.

When Runako did make it to school, she was behind her peers and she didn’t have the supplies she needed — books, pencils and paper. As a result, her confidence suffered. Her mother says she couldn’t express herself before people, and she even had difficulty playing with her peers. She was very shy, timid and quiet, hesitant to engage with children her own age. Runako was also academically underperforming, growing increasingly disinterested in attending school daily like other children.

Little girl in school uniform smiles at camera in classroom with book in front of her

Runako’s mother was worried about her, and didn’t know what to do. But, then their family got connected to Holt Uganda and Runako was matched with a Holt sponsor! Runako and her siblings also started attending a Holt-supported school. This was when everything changed for Runako!


Runako’s sponsor helped provide her with a school uniform, school supplies and even a nutritious snack each day at school. Runako started being able to attend school every day instead of sporadically. And guess what? She started loving school!

Today, Runako’s confidence has grown by leaps and bounds! She started participating in the school choir, and signing up for dance and drama classes. Her teachers say that since then, her academic performance has improved significantly.

Little girl in school uniform swings and smiles

Runako’s self-esteem has grown as well. She loves to play with her friends at school, and does so without timidity. She is very friendly and playful with her peers in ball games and swinging on the playground at school.

Runako has also developed leadership skills, always first to volunteer to lead her peers during activities. And, with the daily nutritious snack provided at school, Runako is growing healthier and stronger according to her mother! She no longer falls sick often and is much more interested in attending school daily than before.

Little girl feeds goats

In the meantime, Runako’s mother has also been receiving parenting training and resources from Holt Uganda. All her children have benefitted from a healthier and more balanced home environment.

This is the difference education makes! Runako and her entire family see the before and after of when sponsorship entered their lives. Girls like Runako are so vulnerable without access to education — girls who don’t complete their schooling are at a much higher risk for child marriage, domestic violence and exploitation. But, with an education, they become empowered to raise themselves out of poverty and succeed!

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