Meet Samuel. Sam’s story is long and very difficult to hear but unfortunately it’s not that unusual in Namuwongo. After his father died, Sam’s mother, Esther, did her best to provide for him and his younger brother, Peter. But earning only 1000UGX (about 20 pence) in profit per day selling tomatoes was not enough to pay for rent (about 20,000UGX/month), food, as well as school fees for the boys.
Barely surviving, Esther then discovered she was HIV positive (thankfully the boys are negative), their meager home was destroyed in a flood and her new partner started physically abusing her and the boys. The new partner also refused to provide the children with any food because they were not his own. By that point, Esther was working hard as a laborer, earning about 7000 UGX/day in hopes of finding a new home for herself and her children but one day, in an attempt to defend herself against her abuser, she poured boiling water on him, killing him. Cases of domestic violence in these settings always tend to favour the man, regardless of the evidence and Esther was given an 8 year prison sentence. So, even though they already had virtually nothing, Sam and Peter were suddenly without a mother as well.
Thanks to the generosity of a sponsor, Hands for Hope was able to enroll Sam and Peter in a boarding school nearby as they had nowhere to sleep at night and nowhere to get food. During school holidays, HfH pays for the boys to stay at school so they don’t have to return to the violence they remember in the slum. While he is thriving now, Sam did start to show some violent behaviours as a result of the constant abuse he faced at the hand of his mother’s partner. With the help of HfH social workers, Sam was able to talk through his emotions and he credits the organization for comforting him and giving him the support he needed. HfH social workers also bring the boys to visit their mother in jail as much as possible. Sam is now 15 years old and says he wants to study to become “a neurosurgeon so that he can cure HIV”. He is excelling in school along with his younger brother who also wants to be a doctor. Sam claims that according to his research the best universities for the sciences are Harvard and MIT in the United States so his dream is to go there someday. But first, he says, he needs to get a job here so he can pay for his younger brother to finish school so they can travel together. Fighting back tears, he also told me he wants to “volunteer for HfH because it has shown me love that my parents would have given me if they could have”.
Your donation of £45 / month could support a child like Sam to continue attending boarding school.
Note: Names have been changed to protect the children’s identities.