Over the past 51 years, more than 6000 boys have passed through this home. Some have gone on to occupy important positions in society. Most, if not all, have found their place in the larger community, gainful employment, a trade, have founded a family. A few, looking back in gratitude, have become benefactors of the home.
Brother Nicholas speaks with legitimate pride about the achievements of St Mugagga’s Boys Home. They are three currently to run the home, Brothers of the St Charles Lwanga Congregation locally known as ‘Bannakaroli’.
St Mugagga’s is a home for pre-teen and teenage boys who are abandoned, have no family, have taken to the streets. Some are referred to the home by the social services, some are passed on by the Babies Home in Iganga or elsewhere. In almost every case it is a question of total abandonment – having no one in the world who cares.
Brother Nicholas showed me a photo a boy – now an adult – who had been dumped in a toilet as a newborn by his desperate mother. The face in the photo seemed to bear the traces of this ultimate rejection. No wonder then that “Most of the boys here carry a lot of anger in them. They can get violent at the slightest provocation. There is a lot of fighting amongst them. Engaging in sports, such as football, helps them to release the aggression”.
Of course, they receive personal counseling too. St Mugagga provides them with a safe environment. They are encouraged to grow vegetables in the Home’s garden, take care of the chickens, do their share in helping the home towards some form of self-reliance. A well-stocked piggery forms part of the same scheme.
All that is on the upside. Too good to be true? Well, the Home has survived some desperate crises as well. To the point of being on the verge of shut-down. I was told that some years ago one of the Brothers cleared the Home’s account and went off with it.
It was Brother Herman Wübbels mhm who initially saw the desperate need and was inspired to found a boy’s home in Busowa more than fifty years ago. With time it was transferred to Jinja where it is now located on a prime location on the crest of Rubaga Hill just beyond Jinja’s Catholic cathedral.
Finding sufficient funds to provide each of the boys, whose ages range from 6 – 18, with adequate education, is a major challenge.
The current policy is to help them reintegrate society as much as possible and great efforts are made to find willing families or communities to help in this process.