Stories

From rural Uganda to big city life

I grew up in central Uganda in a small village in Masaka District. Life was really hard. At only four years old I lost my dad. My mother struggled to have money for our education, medicine, access to clean water, electricity, clothes and even food. Many times we ate only once a day during daylight as we had no kerosene.

Our home was made of mud brick with just one room that we shared with our extended family, there were five people who lived in our home. We used a curtain that separated the space for my mother and the rest of us.

When I was seven years old I was sponsored by an Australian family, who remained my sponsors right up until I was 18 years old.

Being a sponsored child was fantastic for me. It enabled me to continue my schooling, which laid a good foundation for me to study a Diploma in Network Engineering and certifications in Support work.

I corresponded with my sponsors often throughout my sponsorship, I would write about how my mother and I were, what we were doing and how my education was going.

Some years later, I had the opportunity to come to Australia. I knew that whilst I was here I had to meet the kind family who had sponsored me for such a long time.

I was so excited to meet my sponsors but I was also scared about what was going to happen. I was coming from a very small village so to come to the big city of Sydney, on the other side of the world, was very daunting for me. When I landed in Sydney it was night-time, about 7 o`clock, so you could see all the lights of the city. This was something I had never seen before. I had many thoughts rushing through my head, what if they don`t pick me up, what do I do? What if I cannot recognise them?

I did not have to worry though, as soon as I exited the arrivals gate, they were there. They saw me straight away and ran right up to me! They were all so excited to meet me in person.

I am now an Australian citizen and I have my own family, I am trying to be the best dad I can be. For a living I work in IT and Support Work but my real passion is music and drumming. I teach drums and also give singing lessons. I mostly work with people with disabilities which I enjoy. We perform at community events, it is really helping them with their self-expression, social inclusion and self-esteem.

I grew up in difficult circumstances but music was something that was integral to my childhood in Uganda and made us happy. So that is why I wanted to share music with people here too because many people here are stressed as well. So I play drums and people feel happy. I think music really helps your emotional well-being.

My life has changed a lot since I lived in Uganda. As a child my friends and I used to sit on the side of the road and count the cars that would drive by €“ it was only ever four-wheel drives or cows! Now I live in a big, thriving city in Australia and I have everything I need €“ I have my family, food, my house, space, an income and I am happy.

My only reason for telling you my story is that life for me was hard and life for millions of kids in the world is still hard. All I want people to know is that there are children out there that really do need your support. Sponsoring a child does change lives.

IMPORTANT NOTE: ChildFund Australia`s child protection policy does not allow sponsors to bring children out to Australia. After a sponsorship ends, if a sponsor and their former sponsored child wish to stay in contact, this may be possible under special circumstances but only if you have sought consent through ChildFund Australia. Our Supporter Relations team can provide more information on 1800 023 600.

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