Reviews & Profiles
Using her dream to help children fulfill theirs
Posted Saturday, January 26 2013 at 00:00
Drawing from personal experience, the author merges fact and fiction to tell a story targeting children who didn’t have access to the kind of information she writes about.
In the book, I Have A Dream, Edidah Tumwebaze tells a poignant story of survival through hard times. It is not different from that of countless Ugandans who have gone through village childhoods but it is worth noting if only for the fact that there are not many Ugandans who have written about every-day events with a fictional touch.
In the book, the story is told of a girl who goes to school in the deep western part of Uganda, not sure of her future. Most of the girls in the village are either not in school or they never go far in their pursuit of an education.
The story is a picture of a girl who grows up in poverty yet with the opportunities to go further. She soldiers on in the midst of the different obstacles that girl children go through the world over. Having to deal with the strange world of sexuality and changes in her body, our heroine beats the odds to be the only girl to complete her studies from her village.
The book is written in simple English, probably because it is meant to appeal to youths. Young girls of all social classes are targeted because, as Tumwebaze explains, hard time can come to anyone but the important thing is for one to know how to behave when they do.
Styles used in I Have A Dream include diary, letters and memory tags. These are spread out through the book. The tags are designed as mottos the main character posts on her wall to remember vital life lessons. These are easy one-sentence resolutions that the reader easy grasps and applies to their life. The main character is a reflection of the author in this first effort. Tumwebaze is known in her own village in western Uganda for inspiring young children every time she is there. Usually, during the Christmas holidays, she calls the children of the village for parties where they share stories and fun.
The author is the only female from her Primary One class who made it to university. “The rest of the females fell out long before secondary school,” she says.
“I am always asking them what they want to be when they grow up and it is disheartening to hear some of them saying they want to be boda boda riders. This is the only profession they can think of,” she explains.
Many children in similar circumstances have no connection with the higher professionals like doctors or lawyers.
Through an organisation, Rising Hope Foundation, Tumwebaze has started collecting books from those who would throw them away, as happens normally in urban centres after children have completed a school stage. The Foundation connects these children with sponsors and those with items they do not need anymore.
Author: Edidah Tumwebaze
Date of publication: October 2012
Where you can find it: Aristoc Bookshops