From a glance, Hajara Namuyanja comes off like any other young woman filled with youthful dreams, social desires and great ambitions ahead of her. Her charity works in rehabilitating street children though speak of someone so much older with bottomless resources at her disposal. But she's just someone with a big heart.
Seeing how the 27-yer-old easily and naturally interacts with the unwashed street kids without care is indicative of someone passionate about a cause they truly believe in. In mutual respect, the street kids refer to her as ‘Aunt Hajara' and keep reporting to her about the 'indiscipline' of their colleagues.
Namuyanja's wit and charm even attracted women living on Kampala city streets to bring their children to take part in her outreach programs whenever she holds them.
In most of her programs, she reaches out to these vulnerable groups with essentials like food, health and hygiene sensitization materials. She also speaks to the children about the negative impacts drug abuse has on their lives and their community as a whole.
“For the past 11 years, I have been able to rehabilitate many children that have been victims of sexual abuse, street children, family disintegration, and those in dire medical conditions. I have done this through providing a safe area for the kids to feel at home, have nice clothing, timely meals, tutors, and grooming them religiously,” Namuyanja said.
Namuyanja explains that it is devastating after the outreach program to see street children head back to the same hell of pain.
These children, she says, are looking for a safe home, a family and have the same questions or dreams as the other kids living with their families. They too want to be heard, validated, cared for, and loved unconditionally.
“My wish would be to take all of them off the street at once, but it is not an easy venture. The outreach programs are gates for me to meet many children every day. These children’s stories never leave me the same, as each is always characterized with pain and so much poverty and fear that is unexplainable. They all require one thing, which is love and care.”
Namuyanja explains that one doesn't have to have millions and millions of money to engage in charity activities. She says everyone can impact in their own capacity the lives of the vulnerable. She calls upon others who can, to play their roles in whatever capacity.
“The resettlement plans tend to fail due to lack of parents involvement, death of children, limited funds/sponsors, state bureaucracy and corruption. The different misconceptions that street children cannot reform also continue to hinder my everyday work,” she said.
She shares that she doesn’t just want to leave a mark, but wants to be remembered as a servant of God who has served street children and women in various communities.
“My life has been about impacting the different lives of people with the little that I could, even though it was never enough at times due to many needs of the people. Much of the work I have done since I was 12 years have not been the easiest, but the work I have done so far and what I hope to continue to do is basically to be an educator and disciplinarian,” she said.