New Vision (Kampala) - January 25, 2012
Remember Proscovia Ayo? She is that HIV-positive headteacher from
Tororo district, whose deadlock story we published in New
Vision's Mwalimu on March 2, 2011.
In the story titled "Head Teacher Rejected for being HIV
Positive?", we followed Ayo's life story right from the time she
set out to study and achieve her dreams as a teacher, all the way
to when the dreams started crumbling down at the hands of her
The story painted a picture of the teacher's struggles in life,
an outstanding scenario being the one where she, because of her
HIV/ AIDS activism, was discriminated against and chased from
office by stick-wielding villagers who took the law in their
hands to end her means of subsistence. Looking into the
unfortunate occurrence, the story portrayed a weakness by the
education ministry in handling the woman's dilemma.
At the time of the story's publication in March last year, it had
been eight years since this act of lawlessness had taken
place. For eight years Ayo sought intervention writing letters to
all and sundry at the education ministry, to the district's chief
administrative officer, to the education service commission, to
the LC5 chairperson of Tororo, name them.
But no help had come her way. The situation had been worsened by
her name subsequently getting dropped from the payroll, a thing
that stressed her and got her bedridden for eight months with no
hopes of ever getting up again.
Along the way, her four children had been discontinued from
school due to her inability to pay fees for them.
In a nutshell, it was a story of a woman of ill health trying
single-handedly to have anyone in the education ministry hear her
out in vain. It was a story of this woman hoping against all hope
that her children get to see the chalkboard again someday, still
The education ministry, according to the ministry publicist
Aggrey Kibenge, had tasked Tororo district officials to solve
Ayo's problem. But for some reason, no one had acted positively,
and the woman had continued to suffer all because some villagers
fired her from work eight years ago and the ministry had looked
on for that long.
When contacted for comment, Tororo District Education Officer
Yona Gamusi Doya had dismissed the woman's claims of him not
helping, and had actually bounced the case to district chief
administrative officer Felix Esoku, claiming Esoku had solved it.
Esoku had alleged that Ayo was re-instated and was being paid,
yet Ayo insisted she was only volunteering. With this state of
events all highlighted in the article "Head Teacher Rejected for
being HIV Positive", Ayo's story became something of a national
The New Vision was subsequently inundated by letters from
readers, some demanding the sacking of the district officials
indicated in the story as frustrating the woman, others
expressing sheer shock at how a teacher could be fired by locals
and how the education ministry was taking forever to reinstate
Many more letters spat fire at the education ministry and
everyone who was involved in this case. At the local FM radio
station Rock Mambo 106.8FM, a talk show was dedicated to Ayo's
dilemma, as portrayed by New Vision story.
Listeners called in, some even proposing mass violence against
the said officials on air. With pressure mounting from every
direction, the education ministry and the district officials
eventually gave Ayo's case priority in a thorough reviewing that
ended in the last quarter of 2011.
On November 7, 2011, Ayo was reinstated as a headteacher not in
the school whose locals plagued her over her HIV status. Rather,
Ayo is now the proud head teacher of Pajangango Primary School in
Magola Subcounty, West Budama, Tororo district. "I cannot believe
that after a whole eight years, justice has finally prevailed.
Thanks to the New Vision for giving urgency to my problem and
making it a social concern," says the 51-year-old headteacher,
who also teaches English in P.5, P.6 and P.7. "It feels so good
to be back in class doing what I love. But most of all, I love
serving my nation.
Somehow, it reassures me that I am still valuable to the nation
much as I am HIV-positive." "Now my mind is already off my HIV
status. I feel I am already healed because my worries are gone.
After all, my children are resuming school soon and I am going to
be paid in arrears for the time I was off the payroll," adds Ayo,
a born-again Christian whose faith did not falter all through her
eight years of struggling to be reinstated.
"I will praise Him. I relied upon Him all the way. Now look what
He has done for me! Those eight years of struggle were only a
test of my faith. I am glad I did not dissapoint Him" she says.