Gasta Hamza

    2021

    Hamza’s Story

    Both of Hamza’s parents died when he was just a baby. He was taken in by his maternal grandmother (Monica) and he grew up believing she was his mother until he was five years old. Monica cared for Hamza plus 3 of her other grandchildren. Monica is a hard-working woman and although she has no formal education and was unable to obtain employment she would dig in people’s garden in exchange for a part of the harvest to feed her family. This small return for her hard work was not enough to keep the children fed or have any of their other basic needs met. When Hamza was 5 years old, he started moving to the streets to beg for food and money to help his family survive. After a year of daily visits to the street, Hamza found it difficult to make the long journey back to his home and started sleeping on the streets at night. Hamza began traveling to different cities to beg for food and money and at the tender age of 6 years old, he got lost and could not find his way home. Both he and his family searched for each other for four years, but were unable to find each other. Eventually he gave up looking and Hamza was fully integrated into street life between the ages of 6-10. While there, Hamza would eat from trash bins, beg for money during the day and sleep on the hard ground at night. When he was caught stealing food out of desperation, Hamza recounts the beatings he would be subjected to from the police. Hamza and his friends tell the story of how the police would find the young boys sleeping on the street, and as a game to entertain themselves, would wake the children up and force the boys to fight each other or they would “face the batons”. To escape from the anguish of this mental and physical abuse, and the physical pain from hunger, Hamza began huffing jet fuel oil- as many children who live on the street in Jinja do. The drugs numbed his pain and allowed him to sleep at night, but they affected his physical and mental state. As a result of this difficult life, Hamza began to fall sick and his health deteriorated. He started to lose hope for his life and for his future.

    In May of 2021, Hamza was one of 6 young children who volunteered to play a role in the PFP video filming project. As it soon became clear that Hamza not only had a desire to return to school, but to also return to his family, PFP made that dream a reality. Hamza was able to remember landmarks and some street names and with the help of our social worker, he was reunited with his beloved grandmother and his many cousins. At the time of rescue, though Hamza had almost zero English vocabulary, he would frequently point to the staff’s phones and say “family—home”. Hamza has now been welcomed into our full program and school fees and financial support for him and his family will be provided indefinitely. Hamza will now be able to look toward his future with hope and the goal will remain to see Hamza rise up out of the poverty he was born into, and perhaps help to bring his family out of poverty as well.

    Date of Birth: June 20, 2010

    Q&A

    What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to become a pilot

    Why? I want to travel nations and make enough money to live

    What is your favorite color? Grey 

    What is your favorite food? Rice and meat

    What is your favorite thing to do? I love playing football (soccer)

    What is your favorite subject in school? Math

    Why? Because I love calculating

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