Six abandoned children: Musa and his Five Brothers

Trigger Warning. 

In some cases, it takes more than a village to raise a child. I hope you and I can fundraise together to help raise Musa and His Five Brothers out of poverty. 

I learned about these children when I came across two New Vision articles by Tom Gwebayanga [1] and Dr. Opiyo Oloya [2] covering a story about a 12-year-old boy who was abandoned by his parents and left to fend for his five siblings. Having witnessed thousands of children experience homelessness in Kampala, Dr. Oloya’s call to action reminded me of our roles as Ugandans and the international community to support those in need. 

Irrespective of where you are from in the world, I hope this fundraiser inspires you to donate and create awareness on the issues related to child welfare in Uganda and the rest of the world.

Musa Mukidi is a 12-year-old boy from the remote Nansolo Village in Kamuli district, Uganda. Growing up, Mukidi said he heard his parents had ‘endless fights’ related to his father accusing his mother of infidelity after she tested positive for HIV. Mukidi’s parents eventually parted ways, abandoning him with his five younger siblings in a thatched hut to fend for themselves. Ever since, Mukidi’s circumstances have forced him to play the role of father, mother, and older brother for his five younger siblings, Ian Mpala 12, Allon Bankobera 10, Joseph Buteraba 8, Amos Kyabajenda 6 and Yobu Magaya 4.

Despite existing civil and social efforts from organizations such as The National Forum of People Living with HIV/AIDS Networks in Uganda (NAFOPHANU) which addresses HIV/Aids stigma and associated violence in Kamuli, the COVID-19 pandemic has deepened the cracks in existing family structures, leaving more children abandoned than ever before.  In consideration of the lack of HIV/AIDS counseling in Kamuli District, self-hate and discrimination associated with HIV and AIDS; cases of domestic violence and suicide are just the surface of the realities that disproportionately affect women and children. 

While Mukidi’s father has moved on with another wife, and his mother has returned to her parents, Mukidi and his five brothers have fallen through the cracks of the Ugandan Child Welfare system. As of now, Mukidi and his five brothers are surviving on food donations from the local community and are attending school in exchange for slashing the compound. To make matters worse, the current wave of financial instability due to the COVID-19 pandemic has limited the support the local community can offer.

It is clear that Musa, like any child, does not deserve to bear the responsibility of the failures of his parents and his government. Children like Musa are being robbed of their childhood. I am reaching out to you to offer any support you can to preserve the childhood of Musa and his five brothers. In collaboration with the New Vision newspaper, the proceeds of this fundraiser will go to the ‘Musa and his Five Brothers Funds (M5BF)’ fundraising drive which aims to “provide them a decent place to live, food to eat and school fees for school.”

Acknowledging that the Story of Musa and his Five Brothers is just one of 232 reported cases in Kamuli between January and October 2021, child abandonment is a growing plague in Uganda [2]. With 12% of the children in Uganda being orphans [3] 10,000 to 20,000 [4] are estimated to be street children. While we currently do not have the capacity to take action to address the systemic causes of the failures of child welfare in Kamuli, at a later stage we hope to use excess proceeds from this fundraiser to support local organizations in making support more accessible to abandoned children. 

[4] Bwambale MF, Bukuluki P, Moyer CA, Borne BHWvd (2021) Demographic and behavioural drivers of intra-urban mobility of migrant street children and youth in Kampala, Uganda. PLoS ONE 16(2): e0247156.

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Inaara Savani
London, ON

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