Rose Mary was born and grew up in the slum area of “Kikaramoja” in Masese III in Jinja Uganda where she lives with her grandparents. She comes from a family of ten children and she is the first born. Rose Mary who is 20 years old, describes slum life as, “Hell on earth, a ghetto full of suffering”.
In an interview about her life, Rose Mary says that her mother, who sits at home each day, is jobless and her only family income is from her father who works as a “hawker” selling belts for 300 Ugandan Shillings (about ten US CENTS!) each. She says this is not nearly enough income to cover her family’s food, medication, school fees, and rent.
Rose Mary explains that this slum collects people of bad character and the residents, who are in deep poverty and are hard-pressed to find proper educational services to help them rise above their current station. Rose Mary goes on to say, “I used to walk 10km (6 miles) daily from home to Mpudde high school where I used to go for schooling. I attended school up to form four and because I didn’t have school fees, I could not continue”. She reveals that she was taken by a man one morning as she was walking looking for food. She got pregnant but unfortunately her baby passed away of malaria when he was still young baby.
Rose Mary is a victim of her environment, but she’s also a survivor with clear hopes, goals and dreams. One of her goals was quite unique: she wanted to take computer training.
Rose Mary tells us that she had a dream of taking a computer course but that dream faded after she was forced to drop out of school. She says it is a “miracle” that Hackers for Charity found her because her dreams had begun to turn into reality when she started taking free classes at the Hackers for Charity Computer Training Center (CTC) in Jinja, Uganda.
Rose Mary, who walks a long distance (about 5km / 3.1 miles) from their home to the CTC, says that she would like to become “genius” in computer skills but she says that even basic computer skills will enable her to get money to support her family and help other children who are still living in the slums.
She says, “Thanks to HFC for giving a chance to the young generation to have hope through computer technologies.”
We’re proud to support young people like Rose Mary who have had such unfathomable challenges and struggles in life, but “we” are nothing without those of you who have come alongside us to provide much-needed financial support and assistance. You are making a real difference, and on behalf of students like Rose Mary we offer our humble thanks.