Recently 12 pupils from the Graeme Naish Memorial School (a Alongside Africa Uganda partner school) went on a hike in the countryside to the edge of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park where the family of one Zakaria resides. Zakaria Tumurinde and his wife Mauda Nyiravuguhenda are from the ethnic minority Batwa (pygmy) community. Although in the evening of their years they had with them a very young child of about 7 years, one Akanjuna Gloria, (not her real name) who could pass for a grandchild of the couple. Zakaria and Mauda earn a living guarding the crop gardens of better-off non-Batwa households in the neighboring community from stray wild animals from the National Park.
In the course of interaction the visitors learnt that Gloria was not their blood relative, instead she was an abandoned baby. Gloria had been discovered (as a baby) next to her mother who had been murdered by the predominant Bakiga (non-Batwa) community in the area. By the time Gloria was found she was evidently malnourished, naked, and sickly with visible signs of mosquito bites, hanging on to her dead mother.
Consequently Mauda and her husband decided to take the baby Gloria and raise her up in spite of their meagre earnings. Though theirs was a pitiful life they opted to share the little they get to grant Gloria an opportunity to live. Gloria now looks much healthier but has never gone to school. The visitors were understandably moved, some to tears, to see the pitiful Batwa dance, with Gloria too joined the dancers! One wonders how such a family finds the courage to continue, let alone to smile and dance.
If you can give Gloria and other children like her the opportunity to go to school, get an education and have the chance to escape the poverty trap please PM us or visit our Give a Child a Chance sponsorship page.