Simple as it sounds, it is not an easy task. Grooming a street kid requires extra ordinary effort to turn the life of a pick pocketer or drug addict into a responsible citizen.
Why children resort to streets
Children on Kampala’s streets are some of the most marginalized in the world. They are majorly abhorred, mistreated and subjected to all forms of physical and sexual abuse at home. They thus run away, and decide to start a new life on the street.
While on the streets, these children live a tough life. They spend nights out in the cold, shelter in incomplete buildings and sleep on verandahs. The tough conditions here subject these juveniles to drugs or solvent addiction in search of warmth, an opportunity to pickpocket and gambling to acquire a shilling for food.
Grooming the juveniles
With such a lifestyle, adjusting to live the life of a responsible citizen is not smooth sailing at all. It requires extra
ordinary determination, effort, patience and time. It is here that 45 year old Goretti Malega comes to play. The mother of three works with Mlisada, a charity organization along Ave Maria Road in Nsambya, Kampala, that provides a home for street children.
She wakes up everyday to nurture and impart discipline in the lives of these juveniles.‘Most children brought here are drug addicts. It is not easy for them to fight the addiction. But once I help them overcome it, grooming them becomes easy .’ says Malega.
Malega further reveals that she tries as much to keep these children busy inorder to get rid of their idle time. Besides training them how to lay their beds in the morning, prepare food, wash utensils and clothes, Malega trains these children how to make necklaces, bracelets and bags out of beads.
These activities keep the children busy, occupying the time they would otherwise utilize to engage in drugs. This helps them to overcome the addiction.
‘I love nurturing these children, teaching them how to execute home chores and how to behave responsibly,” Malega says.
Malega’s efforts pay off
Malega has done this for four years now. Much as it is not an easy task, it has paid off. She boasts about the 45 former street children that she has groomed into responsible citizens for 4 years now. ‘I feel good because I see the results of my sweat. Many children from this organization are school-going and are now responsible citizens.
It gives me joy.’ Says Malega.
Malega vows that she will live to see more street children groomed to become responsible citizens.