My name is Ochaya Francis. I am a Ugandan aged 27 years old from Kakira in the Jinja district. This is my story.
Like any other human being, I was born to a mother and a father. I loved to enjoy the love of my parents.
Mum was always there for me, but the worse thing about our family is that we were chronically poor. My father didn’t choose to take up his parental responsibility to help me go to school (to this day I am not sure why). My mum wanted me to study just like any other child, but she couldn’t even afford to buy for her son a pencil. She sent me to school without even a book to write in.
I also yearned to study with one heart and indeed I went to school with only a long shirt without a pair of shorts. I had a lot of jiggers worms in my feet which made my legs face southern direction.
I was the only child in school without a mere shoe. I suffered under the sunshine without shoes, I used to cry day and night with pain on my face. Mum tried her level best but could not do anything to support her son. Even at home we could starve without food and at times neighbors could sympathise with us and share what they had.
But though I went to school without books to write on, other pupils could help and give me some of their old books to write on. At times there was a teacher who could help me with books and pens and she used to encourage me to work harder in class because I was a bright boy in class.
I studied up to primary five without knowing a good school uniform and shoes in my life. Then to make matters worse my only mum who encouraged me to push on with life though poor, fell sick and died.
I grew old losing my mum in primary six and life became hard on my side. My father chose not to do anything for me.
I was lucky that a kind neighbour saw how I was suffering without care and requested me to move into their home and help with their children. They were taking a lot of drugs and she thought I might be a good influence on them. With time she saw I was a hard working and trustworthy boy so she decided to pay my school fees and even some school requirements. It was thanks to her efforts I was able to study up to senior six.
With time she saw I was a hard working and trustworthy boy so she decided to pay my school fees and even some school requirements. It was thanks to her efforts I was able to study up to senior six. At this point she retired and returned to the village. Life became more difficult again and I had to struggle for what to do, but I will never forget her and the great help she offered to me.
Getting to help support children who were on the streets
I got an opportunity to work with S.A.L.V.E. International as a Home Assistant caring for the boys in the Drug Rehabiliation Programme. I love my job so much. This was a turning point to my life because I am working with children who have had similar experiences with me of not always having an easy life and struggling for every little thing.They often come to the streets due to poverty and not getting enough family care, and as you can see I have relatable experiences I can share.
I have a huge passion for these street-connected children and my heart’s desire is to see them resettled home with their parents taking responsibility for them so that they are placed into school so that they can enjoy their rights to Education and freedom of association with their colleagues and people in the community.
As a child, I missed most of my rights and I want these children to enjoy their rights and I appeal to parents to always show love to their children so that they can become responsible people in the nation.
Together I believe we can make change and see that no child has to suffer or call the street their home.