Julius Muyombya was abandoned by his parents as child but has beaten the odds to succeed in life since being brought to live in North Wales
A street child discovered in an African shanty town by a schoolgirl from North Wales has beaten thousands of students from across the UK to receive a prestigious award from Peter Jones of Dragon’s Den fame.
Julius Muyombya had been abandoned by his parents as a small child to be brought up by his grandmother along with several of his siblings in a one-roomed shack in Kampala,Uganda .
By the age of seven Julius, who was given a prize by the TV star for entrepreneurship at the BTEC Awards 2016 held in London, was collecting rubbish from the streets to help earn money for his grandmother.
Pupils from St David’s College, Llandudno, who visit Uganda every year to do outreach work, raised money to rehouse the family.
One of them, Christina Ramsay, ended up spending several days with Julius and the teenager was struck by what she later described as the young boy’s “spark”.
Christina, from Holywell, who is now 26 and a nurse, returned home determined to find a way to bring the then 11-year-old to North Wales.
Christina said: “Rev Tim Hall, the chaplain of St David’s, supported my idea and we eventually got him a birth certificate, passport and visa – but it took a year and a half.”
Julius, now 18, has just accepted a scholarship to study business and law at Bangor University. He said: “When I got to the airport in Kampala to come to North Wales I was introduced to a whole new world.
“My father took me to the airport and I remember him being amazed watching the planes, he’d never seen one before. I enjoyed the flight but once I got to Heathrow I didn’t have a clue where to go and could only speak very limited English.
“I needed to get a flight to Manchester but I kept on getting lost. But luckily these two blokes spotted I had a Manchester United backpack, and they bought me a drink and showed me where to go – I didn’t like to tell them I wasn’t really a Man United fan.”
St David’s College agreed to give 100% sponsorship to Julius, with his other financial needs met by a group of parents and friends called The Friends of Julius.
“I thought Wales was the most beautiful place I had ever seen, it was so green,” said Julius. “But because my English was so poor and I’d only had very little schooling, at first my GCSE grades were predicted to be mostly Us. I felt terrible as I felt I was letting everybody down, so I decided I had to work three times harder than everyone else.”
Julius’ sheer determination meant he went on to achieve eight GCSEs grade C and above.
Not only has he shined academically and in public speaking, he has won a silver medal in a national kickboxing competition.
Stuart Hay, St David’s headteacher, said: “Julius is a strong leader and first class role model. He has a remarkable work ethic and is worth every bit of the sponsorship in the example he set in studying and commitment to every aspect of school life.
“In his community in Uganda, we have seen his immense leadership qualities at work first hand and he is committed to return to Uganda once he has completed his education in UK.”
Julius says his family are very proud of him. He said: “I just want to make a difference to my country, my head is full of ideas. It’s not about earning lots of money, that doesn’t really interest me. But I would like to be perhaps the president of Uganda one day – anything is possible.
“And when I go back to the shanty town and speak to the children, I tell them they have to go to school to get educated because look what happened to me.”