By Bayan Nalubwama
It takes so much courage and resilience for a juvenile to survive within the streets of Namuwongo slum without joining bad peer groups and abusing drugs. Despite the poverty and lawlessness within the Namuwongo Slum, young people continue to dream and are determined to make their dreams come true.
Achieng Monica aka Angel is 19 year old dreamer within this ghetto. Doing law is her biggest dream and the fact that she is a talented dancer and actress and being empowered with tailoring and hair dressing skills, makes her days ahead a little clearer and brighter.
”I always enjoyed performing for my mother. It was a real heartbreak and a setback for me and my siblings when she succumbed to colorectal cancer because even with the presence of our father, mother was the bread winner of our home.”
“Many boys and men approached us promising better lives for me and my siblings. They had seen a great opportunity to divert us after mother’s death. They were really very disturbing and confusing moments because we were in pain and needed peace of mind”
“I thank Jesus because within Him, I listened to the elders that counselled us after the demise of our father. Lucky enough, during the vigil, Mr. Ronald Eligu, the Founder of Touch the slum (GAF) approached me and advised me to join their projects.”
“By then, they were making liquid soap. I saw this as a great opportunity and I joined. I also came with my sister and we received a loan of shs 30,000/= from the organization. With the money, I and my twenty three year old elder sister started making Sumbusaz.”
“The business was going well but prices for the things were going high every now and then so we decided to quit the business and ventured into another of frying lung fish which has made us good profits until now.”
Ever since she joined Touch the Slum projects, Angel has been equipped with many enterprising skills such as baking, soap making and hairdressing. She is currently one of the best hair dressers at the organization.
“With all these skills, I have assurance that I can also compete for a place in this world. I am sure one of these skills will generate me money and I will one day pursue law, my dream career and I will become a great lawyer.”
The nineteen year old currently holds one of the lead roles in another ongoing film project of Touch The Slum dubbed “Namuwongo My Hood”. Namuwongo my Hood is a tale of real life stories of young people surviving in the slums of Namuwongo.
The short skit series stars children surviving in the mentioned area who are passionate about film and yearn to tell their story to the rest of the world.
According to her young girls within her neighborhood have failed to dream. They are okay with being born and dying in Namuwongo. Angel says girls start living recklessly the moment they start developing breasts. She says she is there and has seen more than enough.
“The moment a girl starts developing breasts here, she feels grown, joins bad peer groups that inspire her into practicing anti-social behaviors like drug abuse, clubbing and early sex. They don’t dream of a world outside Namuwongo but I will get their one day.” She concludes.”