Mary is an amazing 11 year old girl from the slum of Namuwongo, Uganda. She lives with her older brother and sister, and above all, she loves to sing. Sadly, Mary never knew her father, losing him before she could remember when the family used to live in a village outside the city of Kampala.
Mary’s childhood has been a difficult one. Without a father to earn a living, the family had very little money growing up and struggled just to put food on the table. Education was never an option for Mary growing up as her elder siblings couldn’t afford to buy the uniform and school books she required to attend school. This is the all too common reality for so many children living in Namuwongo.
When asked what life is like for children, particularly young girls, who are in a similar situation to her, Mary describes in a matter of fact way the reality:
"In my community children who don’t go to school, they can be raped, they can be kidnapped and they suffer a lot. They can get pregnant when they are still young."
We first learnt of Mary several years ago through our ground team in Namuwongo, and moved quickly to change the future of her life.
She was enrolled on our Walk to School programme that provides the most vulnerable children with a full time quality education. Mary was provided with a uniform and school books, and since then, has never looked back. Importantly, at school, she is provided with a hot meal every day, which has also relieved the pressure on her older brother and sister.
When asked what her education means to her, Mary says: “When I go to school I feel good because education is the key to everything.”
Mary’s story is one of inspiration and hope. She continues to thrive at school, always singing, and when she grows older, she wants to become a doctor so that she can provide healthcare to other people in her community