Ali comes from a large family of five children and lives with his mother in a small town called Nakaloke, some 7km outside Mbale in Uganda. Already financially poor, matters got worse. When Ali was six years old his father left them for Kenya, leaving only one parent to depend on for all their needs. Ali’s mother had no work and was struggling to take care and provide for all her children. In a desperate attempt she started babysitting other children and made a little money to buy food. Almost immediately, all the children stopped attending school because they could no longer afford the school fees. The landlord of the small room they were renting threw out what belongings they had onto the street for falling behind with rent. Now homeless, they found themselves sleeping on the porch of a neighbour’s house. In tears Ali’s mother pleaded for help.
In the morning, Ali’s family walked the long journey to the next town called Kolonyi. Everyone stared at them as beggars and saw them as unwelcome. Despite this however, an old woman took pity and welcomed them. Ali says “My mom told her our problems and the old lady said she would like to help. She had a small job of raising pigs and came with a small room. My mother broke down in tears and said ‘whatever it is, I’ll do for my children.’
“For as long as I can remember, my mother did everything she could. She spent hours digging in the fields, planting and harvesting for other people just to earn some food for us to eat. Then she raised pigs and cleaned them, fed them and looked after them, even us as children would join her in digging to help ease her worries and pain.”
“Most of the time we went to sleep hungry, dreaming of schooling and how things were different and how I wished for them to go back as they were before. We had no books and equipment for school, plus where would we find the fees?”
“Our father came back from Kenya with some money so we thought all things can go back as they were before. However, he came back with another woman as well. My mother cried and became the joke of the town. My mother got into an argument with father about the new woman and as a result my father started fighting. He stabbed her with a parang and cut my mother in the back. We took mother to a hospital where she recovered. That night, my mother took some rope at the hospital and tried to commit suicide. We all cried together and felt lonely and helpless. My mother said she had faced many problems before but not like this. There seemed no way out.”
“As the eldest, I tried to work and earn money to help send the youngest to school and pass their tests. I just want to go back to school and finish to get a good education and secure a job so I can take my family out of poverty, get a house and provide for my mother and siblings. I am good at football but only as a result of not attending school through the lack of funding. But now thanks to the support through Rejuvenate, I can now finish my schooling. My younger brother and sisters still need help with their funds but we are hopeful.”
“We still don’t have a house of our own, my mother now has a heart condition with no treatment, and there are no jobs and so very little money to help support our needs. Jobs are often given to those with an education or people who don’t look poor and dirty.”
Now through friends Rejuvenate Worldwide I am back in school, I have a chance to get the grades I need. “My aim is to complete my studies now and leave home, that way my mother can care for my siblings without worrying about me. I would like to be a journalist if I don’t ever make it as a footballer, then I can get my siblings off the streets as well and help them with school fees, I can write and raise awareness of other children who are on the streets struggling. I lack the basic books and some school equipment, but at least I am able to start studying again. Thank you for supporting me.”
It doesn’t take or cost much to support someone like Ali. We all face trials and hardships wherever we are, but most of us have some finances to get us out of the problem. If you want to support Ali’s education, his siblings or anyone else just like him. You can! Contact us for more information or make a donation on our giving page and title it ‘education’, and we shall allocate it to the most needy child we are working with.