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TEACHER SPOTLIGHT: Meet Genevieve Akello, Teacher and Counselor for Differently-abled Girls

Genevieve Akello, is a patron teacher of our Girl Up club at Uganda School for the Deaf, Ntinda. She is a sign language interpreter and a senior woman teacher at the school. Genevieve is passionate about the education of young girls and women and believes that giving girls and women equal opportunities in different spaces will greatly contribute towards making them responsible citizens. Learn more about Genevieve in the interview below!

1) What school do you teach at? What is your position at the school?

I teach at Uganda School for the Deaf, Ntinda and I am the senior woman teacher.

2) How long have you known Girl Up Initiative Uganda?

I have known Girl Up since 2017, which is about three years now.

3) What is your favorite part about being a patron teacher with GUIU?

I love being there for my girls. Being a patron teacher has put me in a position where I am like a mother to them. I get to counsel and talk to them about different things at any time.

Another thing that really brings joy to my heart is how free the girls are with me. We get to talk together and the positive change that creates is evident.

4. Why are you passionate about girls’ education? Why do girls need to be supported in and out of school?

I am passionate about girls’ education because education is powerful. They say, “Educate a girl and educate the nation.” Therefore, I believe that with education, one can surely become a better individual who will even contribute towards making their own communities better. I am who I am because I received education, therefore, I believe each and everyone deserves an opportunity to attain education.

Girls need to be supported inside and outside of school because they are more vulnerable and they need more guidance and support. For most girls, the moment they start their periods, they are no longer seen as little girls, but rather seen as ‘potential wives’ to some men who are probably many years older than them.

I engage with girls who are differently abled and you find that most of them need to continuously be encouraged to stay in school because they encounter different people who undermine them because they are deaf.

If the girls are equipped with different skills, it is really be something great for them.

5) What frustrates you about the gender inequality and poverty that you see every day?

What frustrates me about gender inequality and poverty is the fact that these two move hand in hand. In most cases, where there is poverty there is inequality somewhere. For example, parents may not be able to afford education for all their children, so they have to make a decision on who will attain education and who will not which brings about inequality.

6) What is your vision for the future… for these girls and women, boys and men; for Uganda; for the world?

I envision a world where girls and women, boys and men are given equal opportunities. Equal opportunities in accessing education, leadership and so many others, be it in school, at home, or in the community.

7) What is your vision for your role in creating that future?

My role is to keep guiding and supporting both the boys and girls to work hand in hand to support each other. I too as a senior woman teacher can start from here where I teach by advocating for the girls to get equal leadership positions.

8) Is there something special you’re highlighting or celebrating this month?

This month, I celebrate 23 years of service at the Uganda School for the Deaf. I joined this community in August 1996 and this place has been a center of growth for me. When I joined, I was in fear because of the previous stories I heard about the deaf. Actually, most of those that I joined with ran away, but the director encouraged me to stay and here I am enjoying the company of the little children in this school.

9) What do you enjoy doing/eating/exploring outside of being a teacher? I enjoy counseling. I always find time and talk to different people right from my daughters, my pupils and my friends. I also enjoy spending time with my pupils. They are my second family.

10) What is a fun fact about you?

I am a comedian. My pupils say that I am funny. I love seeing them happy so I make sure I crack some jokes here and there.