Around the time Child of Hope nursery first started in a borrowed church hall in 2008, director Moses Okotel was already casting his eye ahead to primary and secondary education – and stepped in to significantly change prospects for a handful of slum children by sponsoring their education at other schools.
One of these was Patricia, who is now studying to be a teacher and who wants to help children in the same poverty she was rescued from. She said…
“I have five sisters and a mum, but my dad is not around. He separated from Mum in 2005 when I was eight years old. Our situation at home was terrible because Mum at home didn’t have money for school fees or even food. We were renting a place but had to move out because we couldn’t pay the rent. We moved from a permanent house with three rooms to a mud house with only one room – and we were all sleeping in the same room. We would not have enough for breakfast so we would eat maize porridge at lunchtime and in the evening the same again, maize porridge. All the time we were hungry.
“Before my father left, three of us were in school. When he left we tried to sneak into school but often they would chase us away because we hadn’t paid school fees. We changed schools to cheaper schools but they were a long distance away (an hour and a half walking each way) and we still struggled to pay those cheaper fees. We all felt very bad.
“In 2008 Child of Hope came in to help us. We used to go to church to pray and we met Uncle Moses there. He was our Sunday school teacher. He saw our situation at home when he came to visit us. We are not related to Uncle Moses, we are not even the same tribe. It is very hard to find someone from outside the family to help us. He started to pay school fees for us and would bring food at home for us. Things started to improve and then we could attend school without being worried of being chased away.
“I worked hard at school and Child of Hope agreed to send me to secondary school and found me a sponsor (Auntie Debbie). I am now studying to become a primary school teacher. My hope for the future is to continue education after my certificate and do a diploma course, then get a job in a local school in Mbale.
“I’d like to be married in the future and have children (not more than four!) and we’ll all live in a permanent house with five rooms! I’d also like to build some other houses and then I’ll rent them out to make extra money to help my mum and find children to help who are in the same situation I used to be in.”