I am Harriet Namubiru, age 28, a Ugandan by nationality and a social worker by profession. I am the third of six daughters raised by a single mother. We grew up working on people’s farms to pay for our tuition and basic needs for the family. Life was so challenging both in school and at home until I came to know about an organization called Kyampisi Childcare Ministries (KCM), located in Uganda. They helped sponsor my studies from high school through University, where I graduated with a degree in Social Work and Social Administration.
KCM is at the forefront of the fight against child sacrifice in Uganda, where I am heavily involved in taking care of child sacrifice survivors and their families. When I was younger, I used to volunteer in this area while on school breaks, which motivated me to become either a social worker or a lawyer so that I could be an advocator for these voiceless children. Child sacrifice victims go through severe trauma and often experience permanent damage.
One child who has impacted my heart greatly was trafficked at one and a half, taken to a shrine, and badly abused for almost two years. After that time, she was found lifeless on the side of the road, with her hands and feet tied together, her tongue cut, her teeth cracked, her private parts tampered with, and cuts all over her body. She was rushed to the hospital, but the doctors said it would be a miracle if her life was saved. KCM was able to step into the situation to support the child. She survived, but not without difficulty. She is now fourteen and remains under full time care. She is unable to feed herself, sit, stand, walk, or speak. I am thankful to the Lord that this girl is alive, but it was also important to me to see justice done to those who had harmed her. After several years of working with the child, I was able to give a victim impact statement in court, and the perpetrator was sentenced to 46 years in prison. I thought that with justice our hearts would be filled and content, but what we needed was more than justice. Permanent pain and damage was caused in the life of an innocent child, and nothing can fix that completely.
When I see this sweet girl smile, I am filled with joy but also sorrow. I want justice for these children, but more than that, I want to be able to help them as best I can. I believe that having someone to love you and fight for you when you are struggling with something so difficult, especially as a child, can make a huge impact. I strive to do this every day as a social worker, but I find myself wishing that I could do more. Furthering my studies would equip me to be an even greater help to these vulnerable children who already have my heart. I will do anything I can to help them and to see their lives changed for the better just like mine was.
With this in mind, I applied and was accepted at Utah Valley University to continue my education with a Masters in Social Work so that I can come back and teach my fellow social workers at Kyampisi Childcare Ministries.