Growing up as one of 10 children living in a tiny two-room house in Uganda’s Jinja district, Katherine Ageno didn’t usually have much success in getting her views heard, much less listened to by her parents or the other adult relatives who lived with them. The clamor and hardships of daily life virtually overshadowed one little girl’s voice.
That didn’t matter to Katherine. Even as a child, she knew she had something important to say and was determined to find a way to get her message out — and to make a difference in the world.
“I always dreamt of being a broadcaster and sponsorship gave me the springboard I needed to see me through,” Katherine says. “I love my job. I always wanted to help people who cannot speak out, have their voices heard. And there was no more perfect way than through the media.”
Today, she is the deputy news manager at KFM, the top radio station in Uganda. She also works as a media and public relations consultant part-time and is pursuing a degree in microfinance and economic development.
While Katherine’s own initiative and personality are clear factors in her success, ChildFund’s support at a critical juncture provided a foundation for her growth.
The roots of her drive to succeed and to help others can be traced to her adolescence, a time when her family was struggling to get by. Katherine’s father was unemployed and “my mum started up a small business of selling secondhand clothes that we all depended on for everything including school fees.”
That’s when the generosity of a stranger, a ChildFund sponsor, turned Katherine’s life around. “As a sponsored child, I had access to medical facilities (regular health, dental and vision care). I also benefited from the fact that I no longer had to miss school because of unpaid fees.”
Although Katherine says she did not have a close correspondence with the individual who sponsored her for five years, a woman whom she knew as “Auntie Janet” from Australia, she loved her and “appreciated her spirit of sacrifice for someone she didn’t even know. I will be eternally grateful.”
Today, as a busy career woman, Katherine remembers her sponsor’s generosity and has found time to support ChildFund in her own way. As the Organizing Secretary of Uganda’s ChildFund Alumni group, she coordinates communications, organizes meetings and other events and solicits funds for the association’s activities.
She also has long-range plans for her career to continue to provide outstanding return on the investment of her sponsor: “I want to be an icon in broadcast, not just anchoring. The sky is the limit for me.”