For many years, many of you donated, fundraised for and supported NIRP's work. Fast appeal to help give poor rural families the best start in life. It is an incredible feat and a testament to the generosity of our supporters. The legacy of your donations live with me always, we are seeing how those who have benefited from the donations are turning their lives around.
I always visit these people in their families to share their story.
60 year old Ruth Muleme giggles like a little girl of 9. Much of her teeth are completely gone save for one visible lower incisor tooth and her cheeks are sunken and constantly draw in and out as though sucking on something.
She lives in Masaka district, 125Km of the Ugandan capital, Kampala, with the six grandchildren she cares for single handedly, aged between 6 and 16.
Ruth is become a widow 20 years ago when her children were teenagers. She struggled to provide for them and they dropped out of school because she could not raise the school fees. They eventually abandoned her and went to Mbarara city in the hoping for a better future.
She also had to battle her late husband’s relatives who wanted to sell off the land. They wanted to send her back to her parents, after all, she was no longer staying with the children but she stood her ground and warded them off. She was quick to show us around her home and tell us of her achievements. ''...I will cannot fail my grandchildren''
''Since NIRP came to my home, you can see the changes. I think this is going to be the first season when we shall harvest enough food. I expect to harvest three bags of shelled maize. Just one bag of maize is enough to take us to the next harvest season. I will sell the rest to get school fees. One of my grandsons, Joseph is sitting his final Pre-post primary exams this year. It will be the first time in my life to clear school fees on the first day of the school. And I will do it,” Ruth evidently asserts.
“You see, all my children left me for the city. The only thing they do, is when they produce children, they come pretending to have come to visit me and leave behind their children with me. I do not have a phone to contact them. They never come back to check on their children.
Figure 1: Ruth with her grand children look after the goats.
“I struggled to feed my own children. Maybe that is why I lost them to the city. I do not want my grandchildren to run away because there is not enough food. It was so stressful. I had the land but no knowledge to utilize it for enough to eat.
“And now with NIRP, my situation is changing. I am a very progressive and knowledgeable farmer. Things are positively changing. See, I now have a better dish rack with three stances, We have eaten vegetables of all types and if they were to talk, they would stand evidence for themselves.
‘‘The children no longer fall sick as it were before. And now that I am among those to received a goats, just wait, I will touch my dreams. I failed to care for my children but I will not fail with my grandchildren. What I did not give my children, I will give it to my grandchildren.’’ As I was Visiting her home, Ruth requested me: Please come visit again.
You will see me younger. I will plaster the house to cover the naked bricks of the house. I will also buy gutters to harvest water. My teeth will grow again and I will smile widely for you.” We all laugh at the joke. And I hope to return to her home soon because renewed hope and charisma.
Fig2: Ruth with her grand children.
Remember, NIRP can hardly do much without supporters like you. The money you donate and raise helps us to remain relevant to the children, their families we serve in rural Uganda. Thanks for all your continued support, it gives hope and happiness to learn of the differences we made in their lives.
Fig 3; Ruth helps immunize the goats.