Charles Obuk – a Passion to do Good

Charles during his selection interview

Charles has also written a very interesting play about “Streetkids.”  A social entrepreneur will often visit a place and see injustice or unfairness and feel moved to take action about it.  There are no streetkids in the villages he comes from, but on visiting Kampala he saw many children sleeping on the pavements and felt that he wanted to do something about it.  It is a credit to him, that he used what he knew about – drama – to develop a play, which we performed on our stage and he even was able to make use of the masks we made to portray the adults that take advantage of the children or cause them to run away from home.

When we first met Charles, something came across from him that we remember – he was very serious, very passionate, well spoken and demanded attention.  A good public speaker, quick-thinking and able to be creative.Charles comes from a tiny village in the North of Agoro in Northern Uganda.  He lives amongst the mountains that separate Uganda and Sudan and has had a very difficult existence until now.  He was born amidst the Northern Uganda war and has lived through danger and the resultant famine brought about by war.  He talks of how often he had to sleep through days because there was no food to eat.Few reading this blog would have had to experience this kind of life and clearly Charles had developed his passion from the life experience he has had so far.  Being part of famine will disempower some, but, for others it galvanises them to action and Charles is one of those.

Charles nickname is Kikuyu – “I am short but strong” he says as he smiles at you lifting a heavy load.  Recently too, he has had to bear the load of a split-up with his mother and father and he has gone to live with his mother.  “My mother lost her land” he explained ” and now she grows just enough food to eat on land lent to us.  In our culture women cannot own and when she left my father, that meant she had to rely on others.”  Charles’ mother is a capable woman, though, as she was the most successful of all the melon-growers this year and also the most diligent at nurturing the melons, as I guess she has nurtured her son so well.  She and Charles had even persuaded the village elders to let her use the land for growing the melons, but in 2012, he will have to ask his father for some new land, if he is to grow them again.

This year Charles has developed his skills on computers. Of all our members he has developed the most insightful ideas about how children in the village have been wronged.  Anyone interested in how children are neglected or abused should read his blog, called “Hear the Voices of Rural Children in Africa“.  When I read his words, I want to do something to help these children, so I hope his reader feel similarly and take action.  At the very least, we should help Charles through his education, so he can stand up for these children’s rights, as he grows up himself.

Charles' streetkids play (in masks)

Most children when introduced into a new area, will be fearful or at the very least study and keep quiet.  A social entrepreneur looks for injustices and inequalities, whenever they move to new places and this is what Charles did, when he arrived in kampala for the first time.  There are no streetkids in the village and so it must have shocked him to see young girls and boys sleeping on the pavements of Kampala.  Part of our Butterfly Project training encourages our members to ask streetkids what has caused them to be on the street.  We know some are from Karamoja, but the majority are run away from home, due to a strict stepmother or violent drunkard father.
Charles decided to write about it in the form of a play and produced a wonderful production using masks we had made during the May Holiday period.
Charles will not be able to go to school next year without some support.  He is very clever and was third in our class this year, but top in Biology and performed well in almost every subject, achieving overall 87%.  So, if you feel you can contribute towards his sponsorship of £50/month, then please write to this email address.

Charles, Peter and Joel, all members of the Butterfly Project producing their masks


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