When Zamina Nampina lost her husband after 15yrs of marriage, it would have been so easy to let the grief and pain overwhelm her. But the 7 precious children they had together were there as a reminder why she had to go on. With nothing but a dying 1 acre land, hope in her heart and determination in her spine, she pushed her loss behind her and faced life one day at a time.
She got a job on a farm which paid 1,500 Ug. Shs (less than 1 dollar) a day. With that and the proceeds from the petty trading of jack fruits, she manages to keep her 7 children from starving. But having them exist is not enough for her. As a mother, she wants them to live; to have a better life than she has.
The Nabitende Sustainable Integrated Fruit Growing and Community Agro Forestry Project by EFORDE has rekindled her hope of a good life for her children. As a beneficiary, she will be able to make enough income from the farming business to educate her children. But only if we help to make that a reality for her. Then she can spare her children, especially Balikowa the burden of being a breadwinner at an early age and ensure he doesn’t lose his childhood.
Balikowa Isma, her son is just 12yrs old but has already endured challenges no child should have to face. When at the age of 4 his father died, he saw his mom struggle and labour hard to feed him and his siblings. As soon as he could, he got a job working on a farm for one and half hours every day, and earning 1,000 Ug. Shs (just slightly more than 50cents) a week, to assist his mom. Out of the 1,000 Ug. Shs, he saves 300 and uses the remaining 700 to buy books and other essentials.
Because of the Government’s Free Primary Education policy, Balikowa is able to go to school and is right now in Primary 5. But his dream is to go much further than that. That dream right now depends on us.
Despite all he has seen and gone through so early in life, Balikowa has not lost his enthusiasm for life. The least we can do is to give him reason to be grateful for not losing it and to prove to mother and child that dreams can come true.
Protests have sparked violence in Khandbari.
When I spoke with Tejanath earlier this morning, he reported that the Maoists have called for a strike in Khandbari which has resulted in a 4-day disturbance to date. The Maoists have been fighting with police. Police have fired shots (plastic bullets) at them and injured 6. The Maoists have closed down all shops and Khandbari Bazaar.
The disturbance apparently started following a dispute in the free students election at Barun Campus Khandbari. This election is to select the student union, whose role is to help run the college smoothly. Tejanath reported that the election has not gone as planned due to outside political influences. There was a demonstration being held at the campus, the police tried to stop the demonstration resulting in the students throwing rocks at the police. Four policemen have also been injured.
The Journalist Association arranged for talks among all concerned groups, but this was not fruitful in ending the disturbance. Tejanath also reported he is hearing that this has spread to other areas as well.
At the present time, a curfew has been instituted, no shops are open, no cars or busses are running and no offices open. Everything has been shut down by the Young Communist League including local government offices. Tejanath reported that it is not yet safe, but hopes that things will be resolved soon.