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14-Year-Old Boy Looks After Sick Mother, Pays Own Fees

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Charles Wasswa getting out of his small grass-thatched hut where he sleeps.

A 14-year-old boy who has been looking after her sick mother and paying his own school fees right from Primary Three to date is calling for help, saying he is overstrained.

Charles Wasswa Achidi, a Primary Seven candidate at Wunga Church of Uganda Primary School in Kayonza sub-county, Kayunga district says that the death of his father, Francis Miriga in 2018 sparked off his suffering.

Wasswa says that despite his tender age, Miriga’s demise transferred the responsibility of looking after his sickly mother, Scovia Tiko straight away to him.

“Since then, I have been doing casual work from the neighbourhood including working in sugar cane plantations and digging for people in order to raise money for school dues, feeding at home and treatment,” he said.

Wasswa’s mother is suffering from back pain and she is also having a strange disease that makes her severely shiver and fall down regularly.

He further says that in order to get enough time for the casual work, he misses school for some days but after seeking for official permission from his teachers, as he fully explains his situation to him and they understand him well.

He however says that given the fact that he is now in a candidate class yet he needs enough time to concentrate so that he doesn’t just waste his hard-earned money in school dues, teachers have advised him to dedicate more of his time at school in order to compensate the lost time in the previous years.

Charles Wasswa together with his mother Scovia Tiko, a small grass thatched hut where the boy sleeps.

“I understand the teacher’s call because I very well know and understand that it’s only through education that I will be able to change our future,” he says.

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Wasswa aspires to become an electrical engineer or a police officer if all goes well so that he can get a decent lifestyle in future despite the struggles and suffering he has gone through right from Primary Three.

He however says that he feels defeated and calls for well-wishers to come for his rescue before he loses it all.

“I am seriously looking for someone to sponsor my education. Currently I spend a full week at school, without getting time for work. I have therefore failed to clear the school dues, requirements and meeting home obligations that include soliciting for food,” he laments with tears rolling down from his eyes.

Apart from the above pleas which Wasswa takes as the vital things to determine his future, he also lacks a decent house where he resides together with his mother.

He constructed a small grass thatched mud and wattle hut in which he sleeps as his mother stays in a small mud house. He lacks a mattress as the one which he improvises with is in pieces without proper bedsheets and a blanket.

Wasswa’s mother Tiko says that they are currently challenged as they have nothing to do given the fact that her sole breadwinner, Wasswa has prioritized education, something which limits his time for casual work which has been sustaining them for all these years.

Charles Wasswa, a 14-year-old boy who has been looking after her sickly mother after his father’s demise when he was in Primary Three.

“He fully explained to me that once he happens to get education as he aspires, he will be able to change our life from the suffering we are going through to a good life. I accepted and showed him support despite the challenges it comes with,” Tiko said.

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She calls someone who can help her son get to school without any constraint, provide food for them and a decent shelter.

Emmanuel Zikusooka, the deputy headteacher at Wunga Church of Uganda Primary School said that Wasswa has shown too much commitment and love for education.

“Despite other children who just absent themselves from school without giving genuine reasons and seeking for permission from teachers, Wasswa always first brief us and we let him go because we very well know the situation he is going through,” Zikusooka said adding that despite going through such situation, the latter understands what he is being taught.

Canon Alice Ddamulira, a member of the Inner Wheel Club of Mengo in Kampala said that when he visited the school, he found the Primary Seven class with only three desks, something which perturbed her and asked why the class was that empty.

Ddamulira said that the teachers briefed her of how children in the area were dropping out of school to go and work in sugar cane plantations for survival.

Emmanuel Zikusooka, the Wunga Church of Uganda Primary School deputy headteacher speaking, left, Charles Waswa and his mother Tiko looking on.

“They however told me about Wasswa who had persisted despite being a very good absentee as he was the sole breadwinner for his family. I got concerned and decided to facilitate transport for the news reporter to have Wasswa’s story captured and published,” she said.

She added that if Wasswa can get a well-wisher to facilitate his education all through, all his dreams will come to pass because he has got a lot of passion for education.

“The courage he has exhibited to single handedly work and foot his school bills and requirements right from Primary Three to Primary Seven, despite fulfilling other home obligations, footing medical bills for the sick mother, is enough to show that he knows what he wants. God willing, he will be able to make it,” she said.

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Wasswa is however challenged by some of the people he works for and refuse to pay him. For any help to be rendered to Wasswa, you can contact him via 0773 687343.

From left, Charles Wasswa, Wunga Church of Uganda Primary School deputy headteacher, Emmanuel Zikusooka and Canon Alice Ddamulira (right).

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