Poverty is an abstract term. So is “vulnerable children.” I use both phrases regularly and pretty quickly they lose their force.
But when you walk into a slum and see a 6-year-old boy, his eyes redefine those terms for you. He is what poverty looks like. This is a vulnerable child, not in the abstract. He is the same age as your child, your granddaughter, or your nephew.
Herman was abandoned at 7 and found himself living in one of Kampala’s slums soon after. He was that vulnerable child. In his own words, “crying became my daily bread.” But a team from Raising Up Hope for Uganda (RUHU) visited his slum one day and offered him the opportunity to come live in Bulenga with other kids like him. “I was given a chance to live. I was shown love.” Herman was quite sick when he came to RUHU, and one of the first budget lines at Beautiful Response was a few extra dollars each month to make sure Herman got enough nutrients. RUHU staff took him to doctor’s appointments and made sure he was given a shot at a healthy childhood.
Soon Herman was studying. It became clear very quickly that he was a well-above-average student. His English impressed visitors and teachers. Soon he was completing his secondary education and moving on to a certification program in computer science. Always the entrepreneur, Herman worked while he studied, selling shoes and repairing computers.
Herman came to visit me on my recent trip in January. He’s a young man now. We talked about Uganda’s economy and how it is trying to keep pace. He told me what companies were doing interesting things in the digital space and how he is trying to get plugged in with the right people. He also showed me pictures of his daughter who is one year old now. He is working full-time and trying to figure out with his wife whether she should work or stay home with their daughter.
Little Herman, who was abandoned at 7, sick in one of Kampala’s slums is a dad, working with his wife to figure out how to parent well. That’s why we do what we do. Because Herman’s story is possible.
He showed me a few photos of his recent visit to the slums. He goes back about once a month to provide food for the kids living there out of his own pocket.
“Herman, my man, that’s so incredible,” I said. “You must give them so much hope.”
“I know exactly what they are going through,” Herman told me, “I can’t forget where I came from. I want to keep the love moving.”
Let’s keep the love moving. Your support makes that possible.