Someday, I want to be a mechanic and run my own car repair shop.

— Omware Denis, Student

Student Omware Denis

The way he speaks and laughs – the way he talks about his past and future – is both upbeat and humble. He radiates a kind of lightness which is in stark contrast to his tough past. “We had almost no money,” says his father Robert Ogguta. The boy practically had no alternative: Omware Denis had to earn money in the goldmines, just like thousands of other children in eastern Uganda. As the oldest child of a large family, this lot fell on him. With the money he earned, he bought goats as a way to provide for his parents and seven siblings.

Even after the CaRNaC team spoke to him about his work, offering him an alternative, he was still hesitant. “In the goldmines I earn money,” explains the – in the meantime – young man. Those who live in poverty clutch at straws and are reluctant to give up the little they have. But in the end he gave the experiment a shot and went back to school. Today he says: “I’m happy I decided to take this path.” His father also says: “I was never happy about my son working in a goldmine.” For, this work is very dangerous, and with a smile he adds: “Now I hope that my son will have a better future.” When asked about his future and his aspirations, the pupil says: “I want to be a mechanic and run my own car repair shop.” Until then, he rides his bike to school every day, which takes one hour each way. He knows this will pay off in the end. And just as he used to toil in the goldmines for his family, he now fights for his own future.