Charlie lives with his mum, brothers and sisters in a slum area on the outskirts of Kampala. When Charlie was 8 years old he caught malaria. Although he recovered, it left him profoundly deaf. He had been sponsored by a different charity to go to school but unfortunately when he became deaf the school was not able to accommodate his additional needs so he had to drop out.
Charlie had been coming along our Saturday Kids Clubs project in his community so was well known to our local community volunteers. When he became deaf and stopped going to school, he suddenly became quiet and withdrawn; he didn’t want to join in the games and activities. It was heart-breaking seeing this once lively, cheeky little boy unable to communicate and unwilling to play with his friends.
Uganda has limited support and resources for children with additional needs. The majority of children with disabilities in Uganda don’t get the support they need and don’t get to go to school. There is a school for the deaf in Kampala but because of poverty, his mum was unable to afford specialist schooling for him. One of Kids Club Kampala’s values is to be inclusive, and we believe that all children deserve the opportunity to get an education to break the cycle of poverty, regardless of their age, sex, ability or background.
Despite all that had happened to him, we wanted to give Charlie the opportunity to have a bright future. Amazingly we managed to find a Child Sponsor to enable Charlie to start studying again and he enrolled in the school for the deaf. He found it hard at first to pick up sign language but loved reading, writing and learning again. He made new friends and in just a few months Charlie had transformed back into the funny, energetic boy he once was. It was amazing seeing him smile again.
Charlie was actually Kids Club Kampala’s first ever sponsored child! He started going to school 10 years ago and last year he did his GCSEs. He is now 18, he goes to college and is training to be a carpenter. He has a good future to look forward to and can communicate with the world again.