A young boy discovers his own potential thanks to UTSS
Mwigulu was just like the other kids, just like his brothers, his cousins, his classmates. The inconveniences of albinism did not prevent the carefree 12-year-old from participating fully in the life of his family and village.
Tragically, the simple routine of Mwigulu’s close-knit family was shattered when a brutal attack left him maimed and terrified. Two strange men had followed Mwigulu into the hills behind his home, where they hacked off his left arm with a machete. “I watched them wrap my arm in dirty cloths and disappear into the bushes,” he said. Luckily, his family found him quickly and was able to get him to a doctor.
Mwigulu’s life was saved – that time – but things would never be the same. Fearing for his life, he pleaded with his father to send him away. “They will kill me daddy. Just buy me socks and send me to school -- a school where the bad men cannot find me and chop off my other arm.”
Mwigulu’s father, Gimbishi, was heartbroken, but he knew that Mwigulu was right. Their home in a small village was no longer a safe place for his son with albinism.
When members of the Under the Same Sun (UTSS) team arrived in the village to speak with Mwigulu and his family shortly after the attack, Gimbishi was ready to do whatever was needed to keep his son safe. UTSS offered Mwigulu a place in a private, protected school, and his father knew this was their answer.
Things were not easy for Mwigulu at first. When he arrived at his new school, he was timid in the unfamiliar setting. His marks, however, were excellent, as he quickly moved to the top of the class. He also benefited from medical attention, visual aids, protective sun gear, and the patient attention of staff and students in an inclusive environment.
During the first summer after arriving at school, Mwigulu participated in a camp operated by UTSS. The camp experience seemed to bring Mwigulu out of his shell. According to staff, he changed from a quiet, traumatized boy to a happy, outgoing child. Now he speaks of a new dream - to someday become the President of Tanzania!
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