One day I went to get my hair braided by a woman in the market of Kampala. My eyes rested upon this other woman, selling food while caring for her little baby. The litte baby looked so small and frail, and I would have guessed it to be no more than 3 months old. When I later asked about the child’s age I learned that it was 11 months old, and I remember my heart sank.
This was the brutality, - I realized, - for many struggling mothers working long hours in the local market with minimal income. They could not afford to leave the child in a day care center, and they could not afford to stay home, taking care of the child. As bringing their child to the market would lower their chances of making money, their only solution was to leave their children at home during the day, often locked up in small, dark spaces. This was done by loving mothers with the purpose of protecting their children, but with woeful result of the child being undernourished and under-developed, and often seriously or even fatally ill.
A great desire to help encouraged me to create an organization to help found a day care center for the children of mothers working at the market. I founded an organization, found a place with an affordable rent close to the market and engaged people who were willing to help me run the day care. I was now eager to finally welcome my first child, who I wanted to be that little baby I had seen on the market that day.
When I returned to the market, excited to give the mother the uplifting news and a promise of a better future for this child, I learned that the baby had died few days ago.
It was too late for this child, but there were many children still to be saved.
Seeing this little baby with its mother on the market that day was the inspiration that initiated the Miles2Smiles wellfare center. This little angel in the market of Kampala set out the course for many, many children to come.
- story told by the founder of Miles2Smiles, Catherine Kitongo, re-told by project1uganda.blogspot.no