ARUA.Organizers of the second edition of the West Nile education trust fund dinner have said they expect the first lady Mrs Janet Museveni who is also the minister of Education and sports to grace the function as chief guest.

The 2019 dinner will be held on the 28th June at the Golf Course Hotel Kampala with organizers expecting over 500 guests to grace the function.

The education trust fund; a component of the West Nile foundation is a mutual fund for the community of the region that was started in 2012 to promote the quality of education having realized fast dropping standards.

“Our projection is to sponsor over 350 students in the next 10 years from 2018, that would need more than 4.7 billion shillings for us to achieve but the money comes from our ordinary people, not any external source”, Mr Charles Draecabo, the Chairman of the trust fund said.

He with other members of the executive and board of trustees was addressing a press conference at West Nile Web offices in Arua town on Saturday.

Draecabo said besides sponsoring students at the University, they have been involved in pilot projects of career guidance in schools because there is a “bigger problem” at the grass root.

Currently, ten students from across the region are being sponsored at various Universities under the trust fund with the first batch picked in 2016.

Funds due to inadequacy are restricted to only bright and science-oriented students who should come from vulnerable backgrounds. The current continuing batch are pursuing Medicine, Pharmacy. Nursing and Engineering.

Asked about the gender parity in the admissions, Ms Caroline Badaru, a member of the trustees said there are only two girls out of the ten students.

“It is a general societal problem and each of us should ask ourselves why? I work at Muni University but it is as if someone has stopped the girls from pursuing sciences, we need to do something as the community to change the trend”, Badaru said.

Mr Nixon Abati, an executive of West Nile foundation speaking at the same press conference said despite the stringent conditions, selections have been done to include all the districts of the region.

Mr Godfrey Adukule a member of the selection committee said the fund is non-political and non-denominational but strives only to address the educational plight of the West Nile region.

Organizers said plans are underway to officially launch the fundraising drive in West Nile region, activities have mainly been held in Kampala including a monthly West Nile disco night with proceeds going to the trust fund.

Students are expected to commit to helping others once they qualify from their different courses by becoming members of the trust fund.

A table at the Golf Course hotel dinner will cost 1.5 million shillings for 10 people while individual tickets go for 100,000 shillings.