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I have grown up hearing the saying “children are the leaders of tomorrow”. And I kept wondering how possible will that be if they are constantly being neglected? If the saying is true which kind of tomorrow will that be, when the people to make tomorrow better are not equipped and mentored.
Look at Africa, what do you see?
When you come to Africa the first thing that welcomes you are begging hands of children on the streets. Right from the airport to almost every street in the cities. I see these kids every day in my country Uganda. Young babies of 1 year old and old children below 14 years. My question to everyone is; which future will these children give Africa when they grow up? Which leadership will they give Africa?
Only a few may worry about that but think about it; where do you think these children go when they turn 15? They don't go back to their homes because they never had homes in the first place. They don't get jobs because they don't have the necessary qualifications. Most of them can't even speak English nor can they write their names. So where do they go after their life on street or in the broken homes expires?
Most of the problems we are facing now as Africa could be solved but we neglected the solution and we focus on complaining about the same problems, for someone else to solve them on our behalf
My experience as an African has taught me a lot and I would like to share part of it here in a few sentences.
I got my first job in 2016 immediately after my high school. It was paying very well according to my level then. I bought my dream smart phone after few months which eased my work. I was so proud of it not until I almost lost my life because of it.
I was working with a health organization and I was invited to represent the organization in world malaria's day event at Hotel Africana organised by ministry of health. We finished late and I rushed to the office to return the materials we were using at the exhibition. After delivering I got on a motorcycle commonly known as “boda-boda” which is a common means of transport here in Uganda to rush me home. Few minutes on my journey, we almost had an accident due to pot-holes in the road, which is too a common sight on African roads. Thank God, the rider and I got no injuries, however his motor-cycle got a broken chain. It was a busy road therefore we had to push the motorcycle on the side of the road , the rider tried to fix the motor-cycle so that we can continue with our journey. In the night darkness as he fidgeted with repairing the motor-cycle, the light from his small phone was our only source of light though not enough for him so he asked if my phone had a better light. I pulled it from my pocket and put the light on. It was enough for him to fix the chain and to alert everyone passing by of the kind of phone I was holding in my hands. Few minutes later a young boy who looked 12 years old grabbed the phone from my hand. It was like a joke to me, he was just a kid. "Bring back my phone you kid" I shouted trying to grab his shirt. In trying to recover my phone from the young boy and I was surrounded by a group of more than 20 kids. They looked to be to be between 12 to 16 years. I am sure there was no adult among them but they looked terrifying like cabs.
I was beaten to the extent that I almost lost my life.
I struggled to save myself from these children for some good minutes. It was next to a busy road and people and cars were passing but no one even tried to help. The thieves were claiming that I was the thief and it seems people were convinced with that.
I used all my energy to get out of their hands while shouting for help and no one wanted to get involved until another group of kids at the well saw us they shouted "police" and the real thieves had to run away leaving the victim a lone. The police post was ahead and these children led me there. It was that simple for the children to differentiate thieves from the victim which adults could not do.
I entered the station with one of the kids holding my hand.
I spent around 5 minutes without saying anything due to shock and fear. I later narrated the whole story to the police officer as he wrote it down. On concluding the narration, is when I realized that my life had been saved by just little kids. They had already left and I could not even get their names. Even the police did not recognize them.
The police officers were not surprised by what had happened to me since they were receiving such cases every day. They knew the group of children who committed this act of violence. They called themselves street smart.
They had robbed and killed a young man few days back on the same spot, a police officer explained. The police was still investigating the case of a girl who was raped and stabbed but good enough she was rescued by police from the same spot where they had left her to die.
They said she was in critical condition and that chances of surviving were very small.
Hearing all that I consider myself lucky at the same time filled with rage. How could those kids do that? In that moment, If I was asked which kind of punishment to suggest for them in case they were found, I would say shoot them dead. They never deserved to live after all they had done. That girl had a family and she did not do anything wrong to deserve that. That guy had done nothing wrong. What had I done to deserve that anyway? Was owning a phone a crime or trying to recover it from a thief was? It was my phone and it cost me a lot of money.
I went home and from there I went to the hospital. Good enough I never had internal bleeding. I nursed my wounds and after few days I went back to work. On the road I saw street kids begging as usual, I looked at them as not innocent as everyone saw. I kept on looking at these kids and I asked myself the question I started with. Where do these young kids go when they turn 14 or 15years old?
I had already got the answer in my head. The only thing I did not get was where the source of their hatred. How could they kill someone without any mercy? I could not get the answer to that immediately. But I kept on observing them every time I was going and coming from work. I saw these kids begging on the malls. Rich kids were entering and shopping all they wanted. Wearing nice clothes and speaking good English.
I observed these street kids being ignored. I could try to understand how they felt. I shared their pain. I do not encourage people to give coins to these street kids. But their situation should not be ignored. Something has to be done. Some of those kids were born on the streets and the only thing they do is to ask for food to eat. What do you think comes into their mind when they are hungry yet someone is buying good things, looking very happy and putting on nice and expensive clothes yet the only thing they are asking is just a coin for food? Can you imagine how many times they have been rejected? After my contract was done with my first job i got another marketing job. We were trained on how to handle rejection almost every day and trust me it is not easy. I left that job because it was too much.
What about these kids who are rejected everyday but they don't have any other choice? When they are tired of begging and no one gives them, they resort to taking everything they desire by force. When they turn 14 and they look old and no one pities them anymore because they are old without any good skill of earning money, the best idea for them will be joining notorious groups that has assaulted millions of people in Africa.
Ever since I was assaulted I was yarning to do something. I needed justice and revenge. Not only for myself but also for the victims who fell in the hands of these thugs. I would do revenge if I got a chance but I couldn't, I would do anything to get justice for us but I failed. I visited police every week inquiring where they had reached with the investigation until I was tired and gave up. But looking at street kids everyday while going to work I was sure that if I do not do something about this, these kids were going to turn into criminals and someone will have to pass through what I passed through.
An innocent girl will be raped or a young man with vibrant dreams will be murdered. I had never worried about street kids but I never knew that something I thought was less of my concern could nearly lead me to death. If I ignore this, the cycle will continue.
I wanted to break that cycle and save that Innocent child from turning into a future murderer, thieve or rapist. To save that person with beautiful dreams from being murdered and that Innocent girl from being raped.
I realized that If we want a better future for Africa then we need to invest our time, resources and expertise in the young generation
I could not achieve that alone. I needed a team. Thank God I got the best team that shared the same vision and passion, we believe in "us"
We founded the organization with the same vision and the passion. We invest the little we have, time and energy to make a better future of Africa. Be part of us and save this world. It is our responsibility.
+256, Uganda - Africa
+256 784 740090
+256 704 828694
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