Celebrating Sekwat’s Graduation!

Together we celebrate the graduation of Sekwat Emmanuel as he completes a BA in Procurement and Logistics Management from Uganda Christian University! Of the 1,200 graduating students, Sekwat was among 30 students who earned First Class, a special honor reserved for top performing students.

“I really feel so, so, so happy,” Sekwat shares as he remembers the phone call notifying him of this special honor.

Sekwat and some of his classmates approach to receive their diplomas at Uganda Christian University.

In his family, Sekwat is the first to graduate from an institute of higher learning. After his mother passed away, Sekwat and his siblings were brought to Amazing Grace Children’s Home in northern Uganda. In 2008, Sekwat joined the Lahash Sponsorship Program where he remained until he graduated high school in 2011. At that time, however, there was no program in place to support students once they completed high school. It was a difficult reality as he was unable to afford the tuition needed to continue his studies.

One year later, Sekwat was connected to Clark and Cathy Blakeman. Sekwat shares, “It was God’s plan to bring the Lahash team to Africa to support us.” Clark and Cathy saw the plight of Sekwat and many others like him: talented and dedicated high school graduates who had lost hope, lacked direction, and did not have the means for continuing their education. Thus was the inspiration and beginning of the Stand With Students Program.

Sekwat Emmanuel was the first participant in the Lahash Stand with Students program. The program was created by Clark and Cathy Blakeman.

Stand With Students is a holistic mentorship and scholarship program for higher education – and Sekwat was the first to be a part of the program. Before starting at university, students are matched with a local mentor, and they must work through a six-month long mentorship book that prompts deeper learning about God’s love and the plans that God has for each person. It is designed to equip and empower young adults in East Africa to be discipled, to be educated to their highest ability, and be able to cultivate their gifts, passions, skills, and convictions as they transition into adult life.

“Some of us had lost hope,” Sekwat shares, “but the mentorship program has greatly impacted my life that I am able to understand the plans that God has for me… Initially I had no plans. I thought that was the end of my life, but finally I was able to understand…the plans that God has for me [and] the love of God.”

Students are also encouraged to mentor others, take part in community activities, and help the needy. “We were helped,” Sekwat shares, “and we are encouraged to help others. As we are mentored, we also have to mentor others.”

The Stand With Students program also includes a scholarship component that covers the cost of tuition, some school supplies, and some basic living expenses. Students in the program must maintain good grades as well as learn other valuable life skills like budgeting and balancing other commitments.

There are 23 other students across East Africa currently in the Stand With Students program, two of whom are graduating later this year. Sekwat is glad to see the program grow and shares, “my prayer [is] that the program should continue, so that others who enter the program will also be able to get the opportunity to study and be mentored to understand God and the plan that God has for them.”

Sekwat (together with past and current Stand With Students participants) at a recent retreat near Kampala, Uganda.

We celebrate this accomplishment and give God the glory! Years of hard work, countless hours of studying, the guidance, encouragement, and discipleship from mentors, thousands of dollars in donations, and a local and international team of people praying—Thank you for being a part of this community to stand with students.