Defeating the Odds

Posted on: May 21st, 2013 by admin No Comments

The odds have always been against Ugandan student Francis Lubuulwa. In a country where only 4% of the population continues their education at a post-secondary or university level, he completely overcame the odds. On April 27, 2013, Empower scholar Francis Lubuulwa defeated all odds as he walked across the stage to receive his diploma from Pepperdine University.  He not only finished his university education, a rare occurrence in his native Uganda, he graduated with a degree from a leading university in the U.S!

Francis on graduation day with Empower Co-Founder Alexis Hefley

To think, it all started with a scholarship. Francis, who joined our Scholarship Program in 2007, is an extraordinary example for all Empower scholars of what’s possible when they make the most of the opportunities provided for them. Francis didn’t just walk through the doors that were opened for him, he ran through them. Some of his glowing accomplishments include receiving the Outstanding Communication Division Senior Award and co-founding the Pepperdine Microfinance Club, as well as serving as President of Taibah International School in Uganda.

In an interview with the recent graduate, he explains his vision for his new career, his plans to move back to Uganda, and some advice for fellow Empower scholars.


1.      Tell us a little bit about what you’ll be doing for work when you move back to Uganda.

I recently accepted full-time employment with Inflate Africa. As the general manager, I will be responsible for several functions including managing the business on a day-to-day basis, sourcing products abroad, managing importation logistics, supporting the Kenya and Rwanda offices as needed, and of course—selling products!


2.     Why do you feel it was important to move back to Uganda right away?

Moving back to Uganda right now feels right, especially now. I thought about going on to graduate school, but I knew that it would be beneficial to get professional experience in Uganda first. I believe moving home now is an opportunity for me to see where the need is and how my U.S. college degree can be most beneficial to my fellow countrymen and Uganda at large. 

I have learned so much during my time in the U.S. Thus, moving to Uganda sooner rather than later is the least that I can do in order to share what I have been blessed with and learned with my fellow countrymen. I am excited to be going home soon. I cannot wait to see and experience what God has in store for me and everyone that I will be working with.

3.     What is your 10-year vision for your career?

My vision is to grow with and expand Inflate Africa and use my work as a platform to serve my fellow countrymen. After a few years with the company, I also hope to get a graduate degree, as I believe it will help me better position myself for effective capacity building and change making. Since I have always been passionate about health care, I envision that through my work over the next ten years, I will be in a better place to collaborate with other equally passionate people to advocate for better health care for the Ugandan citizens. I also hope to use my work as a vehicle that will empower Uganda’s youth through social entrepreneurship. All in all, I pray that I never lose sight of God’s plan for my life and that I continue to discern His calling and purpose for my life.

4.     How do you see yourself positioned for a lifetime of influence?

Today, I am convinced beyond any doubt that I am a walking example of what Empower African Children and Pepperdine University believe in. I have been strengthened to live a life of purpose, service and leadership. I feel well prepared and positioned for a lifetime of influence because I know that I must live my life for the betterment of humanity. I feel called and driven to live purposefully and serve others, as I have been served.

The blessing of a U.S. college degree and continued nurturing from Empower African Children have enhanced my creativity, critical thinking, and ability to seize opportunities, thinking outside of the box and pursuing my dreams relentlessly, to list but a few. Ultimately, all the above have consistently positioned me for a lifetime of influence and I cannot be more excited and ready to lead a life that is much bigger than myself.

5.     What advice would you give to Empower’s younger students?

Hard work, integrity, competence, courage, persistence and trust in God will take you very far!

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