Hilda Ayebare, a Chinese language teacher in one of Uganda's secondary schools has always dreamt of travelling to China.
Ayebare's dream came true on Friday after she was announced as one of the 10 winners of two competitions about China in the local New Vision daily, a state-owned newspaper. Ayebare together with nine others will travel to China later this year in an all-expense paid trip.
The competitions aimed at testing the competitors' knowledge on China-Uganda and China-Africa relations. Over 300 people had their stories published about living, working or interacting with the Chinese community.
This annual competition, financed by the New Vision and the Chinese embassy here, is one of the ways that the two countries are deepening their people-to-people relations.
Zheng Zhuqiang, Chinese ambassador to Uganda while speaking at the event said at present, China-Uganda relationship is at its best in history.
Zheng said the two countries opened a new chapter in June this year when leaders of the two countries decided to elevate the bilateral relation to a Comprehensive Cooperative Partnership.
The envoy said the people-to-people exchanges are a key foundation to the Partnership.
"Friendship, which derives from close contact between the people, holds the key to sound state-to-state relations," he added.
Besides the competitions, Uganda and China are also deepening their people-to-people exchanges through several ways.
This year, over 100 Ugandans won Chinese government scholarships. This was the biggest number of students that have won the scholarships, according to the Chinese embassy here. The number increased by 59 percent compared to last year.
Besides the scholarships, every year around 500 Ugandans take short-term training courses in China, according to the embassy.
Uganda's ministry of education early this year rolled out the teaching of Mandarin in secondary schools. The roll out followed a nine-month training of over 35 language teachers.
Another 35 language teachers are currently undergoing training and will be an addition of language teachers to teach Mandarin.
At Uganda's top university, Makerere University, the Confucius Institute is also teaching Mandarin. University students and people from outside the campus flock the Institute to learn how to speak Mandarin. This is aimed at understanding China more and also widening their opportunities.
The university will also starting next month admit students on a Bachelor of Chinese and Asian Studies. Enditem