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From darkness to light

Dear friends,


Spring is here, bringing with it the holidays of Passover and Easter, and we would like to wish you and your families a happy and enjoyable holiday.


Passover is also known as the Festival of Freedom. In this update, we want to tell you about the personal journey to freedom of Sagal T. - A student in Shanita’s scholarship program. We also include a video prepared especially for you, our dedicated supporters.


 

Sagal was born in Karamoja, a remote area of Uganda where freedom is precarious. When he was still a baby, Sagal was kidnapped by shepherds who brought him to their village to raise him there and have him work with their goats and cows. The conditions were rough; for two years, Sagal slept in the mud, and when there was no food or water, he would drink directly from the cows. Despite everything, he survived and learned to adjust.


Karamojong village
Ilustration - Karamojong village

At the age of 5 (an estimate, since his exact age is unknown), Sagal was woken up in the middle of the night by the sound of screaming. He hurried to find out what was going on and saw the village women sitting outside the hut from which the screaming was coming, whispering to each other and waiting. Inside the hut, a pregnant teenage girl gave birth to her firstborn son. Curious, Sagal began to ask the women some very sensible questions:


“Was I also born in the same way?

Does everyone have a mother?

Then, which one of you is my mother?”


A sheperd in Karamoja
Ilustration - A sheperd in Karamoja

That night, Sagal went to bed with a better understanding of the world and of his own circumstances. For almost a year, he prepared himself for the right moment to leave the village. One day he gathered up his courage and set out in search of his mother.


Sagal’s personal ‘exodus’ brought him, dirty and with barely a shirt on, to Moroto – a town in Karamoja located dozens of kilometers from the village he had left. There, by pure coincidence (or not), he found another mother: the mother of Julius, Shanita’s representative in Karamoja, who, among other things, is responsible for recruiting new children to the scholarship program.


Sagal told his story with mind-blowing maturity and openness. When asked about his long journey, he described in detail how he had waited for the rainy season and deliberately left after a night of heavy rainfall, intending to drink water from puddles along the way.


In January, brave Sagal joined Shanita’s scholarship program and entered the school in Namalu alongside 44 other children from the program. As we got to know him better, we discovered that as well as being a mature, determined boy, Sagal has a beautiful smile, which hasn’t left his face recently, and his kindness and generosity toward others around him is inspiring.




This was yet another reminder of something that we constantly rediscover during our work: that this program can transform lives, even bring children from bondage to freedom – the freedom to be children, to laugh and play, to explore and grow, to learn and to dream.






To mark this holiday season and the end of the first school term in Uganda, we have prepared for you an exciting short video, so you can all enjoy the program’s brightest stars. Each and every one of them has a name, a story, and a dream.





We are truly grateful to have you all with us and wish you a wonderful holiday.


Yours,


Team Shanita

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