The Karamojong Tribe is being destroyed by famine as their once nomadic way of life has been changed drastically due to territorial militarism in Northern Uganda and Southern Sudan. Their normal migratory route had been closed off and lands once used by them for farming and cattle-raising during the drought season had been usurped and were under the control of various militant groups for a number of years. The fighting has died down in recent years, but this tribe has paid the price.
The people there have been forced to fight for survival, often times amongst themselves. Karamoja, once nearly one million people, has been ravaged by child poachers, poverty and famine.
All attempts by the karamojong to relocate have been met by persecution and ignorance, resulting in poverty; many adults have turned to alcohol and drugs to numb their pain. Most children living on the streets of big cities are Karamojong- children who the general public view as ignorant, uneducated, worthless and not deserving of any chances in life. They are viewed as little more than animals and are rarely given the chance to make a future for themselves. Many of these children live on the streets and some live in the slums. In either place, there is very little access to medical care, food or water. The situation is worsening quickly; drugs and disease rip through the slums and the streets while these beautiful children either die or wait to grow up and repeat the cycle of poverty.
Click HERE to read on about the Karamojong tribe..
4:00 am comes early, but by this time, the street child is well into his or her day. These children wake and walk (barefoot usually) the three to four 4km from Masese village to Jinja town. The children are divided into groups, or teams (the same type that our children were once a part of), each expected to complete a task for the day. This might be searching through the garbage bins for food, begging local business owners for left-overs, or collecting firewood and charcoal or scrap metal to sell. These children are also expected by their parents or “care-givers” to return with money-the reason we see so many begging on the streets. At around 9:00pm, the day is done, and the children return home and hand in their day’s collection. If they are very lucky, they will get a small meal before bed, then wake up to start the whole thing over again. If the child was unsuccessful in collecting food and money for the day, they will be beaten and sent to bed hungry. Some children do not even have a family to return to; classed as ‘fulltime’ they are runaways and occupy the streets twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. These children must face not only starvation and illness, but also the brutal batons of the local “police” and ill-meaning civilians who feel they deserve to be beaten.