Mar 4, 2011
The boy with broken legs.
I met a woman not too long ago who is a part of a mission group, that works in Uganda, particularly on improving conditions of a "rehabilitation center for children" near Kampala - the capital of Uganda.
One story in particular have always stayed with me. It is about a boy that they found in that "center" - He was only 4-5 years old. His legs were broken, and he was blinded by acid being spilled in his eyes. I was horrified and sick to my stomach to find out that this atrocity was done to him on purpose, AND by his own grandmother. By her reasoning, he would bring more money begging on the streets of Kampala is he was disfigured. He could earn SOMETHING in order to feed himself and his family.
That's not even the worst thing that happened to him. The reason my friend even found the boy, was because he was one of the couple of hundred children that are regularly brought to this "rehabilitation center" - swept off the streets by the authorities. Especially around the election times, because no one wants to see those beggars and children with nothing to do wandering around? So how do you solve the problem? You round them up like cattle, shove them in trucks, then ship them off to a "camp" just a few kilometers outside of the city and lock the door behind them. And THAT IS IT. There is no rehabilitation going on there.
200-300 kids, ages 3-18, starving, lonely, hungry, sick, hurt, with NO adult supervision, locked up behind a gate. What do they sleep on? If they are lucky - on a 20-year old mattress, covered in any possible biofluid imaginable. What do they eat? If they are lucky - they get their single allotted "meal" (swill) which is less nutritional than a stick of gum. If they get hurt? They just hope to live through it. If they are abused? They just live through it. Children, as young as 3, alone, mixed in with teenagers. Barely any supervision.
Some children have parents, but most do not. Sometimes parents of the "fortunate ones" come to pick them up around the Holidays (Merry Christmas, baby!) and drop them back on the street later on, but most of them time - they do not. Those who are able to work - work the fields nearby - a back-breaking labor. Many of them are refugees from Rwanda, who's parents have been killed during the political unrest, but a staggering number of them are HIV orphans.
Hard to imagine, right? In our day an age. What if one of them was MY son? My brother?
When my friends came there, they had no idea what they were walking into. They had no knowledge of this place before hand. what they saw with their eyes left them heartbroken. But also with a vision and a purpose.They may not be able to save all. But they can TRY to save some. Saving one life during your lifetime - is that not a HUGE thing already?
Those are real children. Real people. Not a faceless charitable organization. Those are mothers and fathers just like us. Their are based in Atlanta. They cannot, and will NOT be silent about this. They may not be able to change the system, but they CAN make a tangible difference.
A system cannot be changed through burying the problem. But there is a chance that one of those children, who suffers through this horrible injustice that is being done to them through no fault of their on, will LIVE and grow up to be the one person to change things one day. Those children have no voice. But WE do. We have the means. We have the riches. We have the way to make something good out of this ugliness.
Please visit their site: 60 feet
Their numbers are few, but the need is great. Please consider helping in whatever way you can, even if it is just to spread the word.