In Uganda, I recently met an amazing young woman. Her name is Allen, and despite so many challenges, she’s built a beautiful life for herself.
Allen was born in a poor village in Uganda. She is also deaf. When her parents realized she couldn’t hear, they decided they didn’t want her. Thankfully, a kind neighbor woman who had no children of her own decided to take care of Allen. This neighbor is the only family Allen has.
Her new mom was very poor. She could provide Allen with some food and a place to sleep, but not much else. As a young child, Allen communicated entirely by miming. There was no money for school or tutors who could unlock the world of sign language for her.
But then something wonderful happened: a generous person decided to sponsor Allen!
Because of sponsorship, Allen finally got to go to school. There, she learned sign language! She also learned to read and write. For the first time, she could finally communicate with those around her. And from then on, she was unstoppable!
Allen worked hard in school. Nobody thought she would amount to anything, but she proved them all wrong. She graduated high school, and then continued on to trade school to learn to be a tailor.
Trade school was very difficult for her. She was the only deaf student. None of the teachers knew sign language. She could only communicate in writing. She had to learn almost entirely by watching – unlike the other students she couldn’t rely on verbal explanations. But with a lot of hard work, she succeeded and graduated!
From there, Allen got connected with the deaf association in Uganda. And with their help, she found a job!
Today she works in a shop sewing dresses, bags, shirts and more. The items she makes are sold there onsite – and they are beautiful! Her boss knows a little sign language. Between her signing and some written instructions they work well together. There are two other deaf women who work at the shop as well.
Allen loves her job. She enjoys working with the brightly colored fabrics to create something new. Her favorite things to make are dresses from traditional East-African fabrics.
The money Allen earns at the shop isn’t much, but it’s enough to take care of herself. She can even rent a small apartment of her own now! And the best part is, this is the only beginning of her story. Allen has big dreams for her future. Someday, she’d love to open her own shop. She’d like to share everything she’s learned with other deaf students, and offer them a place of work too.
Without sponsorship, who knows what Allen’s life would be like today? But because somebody cared enough to send her to school, she found a whole new world of opportunity and hope!
Childcare Worldwide is grateful to partner with generous people all over the world to build a better life for kids in need. If you’re interested in helping another child find the same type of opportunities that Allen had through sponsorship, click here.