Aminah – Reclaiming the shattered dream
If the sky is the limit, as it were, Form 4 would have been Aminah’s sky. Her parents had separated when she was only 13, leaving her and her six siblings in the hands of a polygamous father who was weighed down by a large family. As the first born of seven children, she was determined to work tooth and nail to set an example of excellence to her siblings. She endured the long distance daily walk to school, as she came back home to numerous chores, she slept last and was the first to wake up, and fatigue became a normal lifestyle…But she closed her eyes to the hard circumstances, as she hung onto the hope of a future. Her childhood experience inspired her to work even harder thinking, “one day I will own a school and help children in need” she narrated.
The end of Form 4 (known as “O”Level in Uganda) was a huge celebration. She felt she was getting closer to achieving her dreams. However, on one fateful day, Amina with all her six siblings were abandoned with their grandmother who lived far away. This marked the end of her education, as her father could not afford any more support. Soon it was clear that there was no future in such a home congested with children. “This looked like the end of the road for me’, she recalls as she narrates her story. All my dreams and hopes came crushing down”. Steadily they all faded in the mist of poverty and hopelessness, which nourished her wishful and pitiful life. “My life changed suddenly. I thought of school no more, but only focused on getting just a penny for my basic needs.”
In Uganda, survival options for such a school dropout who has not acquired any skills are few and obvious, with being a house-help at a higher rank. Moreover, one needs God’s blessing to find a home in the house that employs her. Many of such girls are mistreated, under-paid or not paid at all, despite the donkeywork on their shoulders, daily. Some are physically or sexually abused, or sold abroad as slaves. As she contemplated all this, a job opportunity knocked. At this moment, nothing was certain. She did not know whether she would ever earn enough for survival or save enough for tuition. She wondered whether she would be mistreated or even abused. Obscurity filled her mind as she walked into her new home. Little did she know what God had in plan.
She ended up in the Sewav’s home, the founders of Unreached Africa. Her new expectations changed in an instant when she became a student again. “At first it was like a dream,” she said. Yes it was, but a new dream…it was a resurrected dream. This new reality was full of joy and a restored hope. Unreached Africa Offered to take her higher, right now Aminah has graduated from Excel Vocational institute with a certificate in Early Childhood Development.
Speaking with her about her life, Aminah portrays hope and a future. She is a quiet girl with a big heart and a big dream. She envisions owning a school of her own, with a day care center. Inspired by Unreached Africa, her desire is to care and help needy children. “I want to help them just as I was helped,” she says. She has acquired skills including, nursery teaching skills, child development skills, which are not only the basis for her employment, but also an investment for her future home management.
With the invaluable support of Unreached Africa, the girl who once had nothing now earns a small salary. Basic as, a certificate qualification is, yet is now a significant stepping-stone. Her prayer is to upgrade her studies, which she believes is possible if only she finds more financial support.