We all have a story and this month we thought we would take a little time to share three amazing stories about lives being changed by our projects in Uganda. Our work falls into 4 main areas: Access to Education, Keeping Children Safe, Meeting Basic Needs and Transforming Communities. We love to hear and share transformation stories because every story is unique, it’s also a daily reminder of why the work we do is so important.
Millie grew up in one of Kampala’s biggest slums with her mum, step-dad and her little brothers and sisters. When she finished Primary School, her step-dad could not afford to send her to Secondary School and pay her school fees of £35 a month. Millie felt so sad because she had always had dreams of going to University.
Millie had resigned herself to not finishing her education, when one day a family friend came to her and offered to pay for her school fees. Millie couldn’t believe it and started going to Secondary School. She thought her future was looking up.However, a few months later this family friend told Millie that when she had finished year 8 he wanted to marry her. She was just 13 and this man was much older. He said that she owed it to him because he had been paying her school fees.
Millie was so scared and told her mum who suggested speaking to Kids Club Kampala to see if we could help.
We helped Millie to refuse this man’s proposition of early child marriage and helped her family to move away from where he lived. At first she was scared to take help from us because of the man’s bad intentions before. We gave Millie counselling to help her overcome her trauma. We found her a Child Sponsor who supported her through the rest of her schooling by paying her Secondary school fees of £35 every month.
Charlie lives with his mum, brothers and sisters in a slum area on the outskirts of Kampala. When Charlie was 8 years old he caught malaria. Although he recovered, it left him profoundly deaf. He had been sponsored by a different charity to go to school but unfortunately when he became deaf the school was not able to accommodate his additional needs so he had to drop out.
Charlie had been coming along our Saturday Kids Clubs project in his community so was well known to our local community volunteers. When he became deaf and stopped going to school, he suddenly became quiet and withdrawn; he didn’t want to join in the games and activities. It was heart-breaking seeing this once lively, cheeky little boy unable to communicate and unwilling to play with his friends.
Uganda has limited support and resources for children with additional needs. The majority of children with disabilities in Uganda don’t get the support they need and don’t get to go to school. There is a school for the deaf in Kampala but because of poverty, his mum was unable to afford specialist schooling for him. One of Kids Club Kampala’s values is to be inclusive, and we believe that all children deserve the opportunity to get an education to break the cycle of poverty, regardless of their age, sex, ability or background.
Despite all that had happened to him, we wanted to give Charlie the opportunity to have a bright future. Amazingly we managed to find a Child Sponsor to enable Charlie to start studying again and he enrolled in the school for the deaf. He found it hard at first to pick up sign language but loved reading, writing and learning again. He made new friends and in just a few months Charlie had transformed back into the funny, energetic boy he once was. It was amazing seeing him smile again.
Charlie was actually Kids Club Kampala’s first ever sponsored child! He started going to school 10 years ago and last year he did his GCSEs. He is now 18, he goes to college and is training to be a carpenter. He has a good future to look forward to and can communicate with the world again.
Joy lives in one of Kampala’s biggest slums and has never been to school. Because of her lack of education, she struggled to find work. Her husband doesn’t have a stable job and they have two young children. She wasn’t always able to feed her children or pay her rent and constantly worried about how the whole family will survive.
Joy’s children come to Kids Club Kampala’s Feeding Project every day where they get a hot, nutritious meal. Joy was speaking to one of our volunteers at the Feeding Project who told her about our Tailoring Project. She enrolled on to our tailoring course right away and started learning how to sew, knit and make craft items. After a few months Joy graduated from the tailoring course and she is now excited about her future.
Joy joined a group of 6 other ladies from her community who had also just finished our tailoring course, and they formed a Women’s Initiative. They share a sewing machine between them, and they work together to make craft items which we sell on their behalf. They also make clothes to order and do repairs.
“We are no longer the way we were. Before Kids Club Kampala we had nothing, now we have skills. I know I will never go hungry because I know how to make clothes. It has reduced stress in my life and I am so grateful. We are no longer striving, life is not so hard anymore.”
Joy now earns enough money from making crafts and tailoring that she has been able to enrol both of her children in school. She is also undertaking training to become a Kids Club Kampala volunteer in her community.
You can also buy some of Joy’s handmade crafts from our shop.