I cannot forget December 1,2015, the first time I met Elizabeth Kwagala and her three children. She had rented a small one-room house in Kireka. I had gone to conduct an interview with Kwagala. Without having any means of survival, the 26- year-old worried about what her children were going to eat that day. She had no money.
Worse still, her then six-month-old and youngest child had ill health. She had a fever, cough and a terrible cold that caused her difficulty in breathing and as a result cried from time to time. I was touched and quickly handed her Shs10,000 which happened to be the only money in my bag. Kwagala thanked me as if she had just hit a jackpot. At the end of the interview was when she bought a some drugs for the baby as well as few banana fingers to prepare for dinner.
Kwagala who has albinism, a condition which affects the production of melanin, the pigment that colours the skin, hair and eyes was kicked out of her marital home by the father of her children in 2014. This came after his plans to have her killed became unsuccessful. She says her husband and two other men wanted to sacrifice her as some communities believe that body parts of albinos bring good luck and wealth. From then on, she has wandered from place to place including police premises seeking help and shelter until when she ended up in a one-room house in Kireka, a suburb in the outskirts of Kampala. She contacted Sunday Monitor and her story and phone contact featured in this magazine on December 13, 2015. The phone number made it easy for Good Samaritans to reach her.
Help comes in
“On that same day you ran my story, a compassionate man who did not identify himself called me up and sent me Shs150,000. He told me to use it to cater for some of my needs,” Kwagala recalls.
That same day, another man who identified himself as Wasswa, a member of Life Church in Namasuba in the outskirts of Kampala sold to Kwagala the idea of relocating her to a better house in town. She accepted and on December 21, 2015, she moved. Her new place is still a one-room house; however more spacious and decent. The leadership of Life Church paid Shs450,000 as her three months’ rent. This means that she will not pay any money for accommodation until the beginning of March, 2016. On top of this, the church caters for the electricity and water bills. Also, they supply her with charcoal and food.
On December 22, 2015, Pride Microfinance Limited (MDI) also reached out to Kwagala and made a financial contribution worth Shs 2.5m. Deo Kateizi, the head of corporate affairs at Pride Microfinance Limited says, “We hope that this contribution will go a long way in helping Elizabeth Kwagala to get back on her feet and start a business to fend for herself and her children. Pride hopes that this contribution will help this struggling family have a better life.”
On top of the money, MDI also bought a television set for the family. Kwagala says she at least keeps abreast of what is happening in the country by watching news. Meanwhile, her children love watching cartoons.
How she feels now
The mother of three says her life is better than it was a couple of months ago thanks to Sunday Monitor that brought her story to light.
“I am very grateful not only to the paper but to all the Samaritans who came to my rescue. God bless you,” she says with a wide smile.
With the money, she hopes to start either a boutique or grocery shop as well as send her eldest child now aged six to school this term. Also, the condition of her baby has greatly improved. Unlike before, Kwagala keeps smiling uncontrollably.