Oteger Simon was just five years old when his father died, leaving him with little chance of education. But thanks to Global Care’s child sponsorship scheme, today 24-year-old Simon is a college graduate with a determination to help lift children out of poverty.

Simon tells his story here:

“I was born in the Katakwi District in Eastern Uganda, the fifth of seven children. Unfortunately, our father died when I was only five years old, leaving behind three wives and a total of 12 children.

“I went to live with one of my stepmothers, who had a friend who worked for Global Care in Soroti. When I was eight years old, I was lucky enough to gain sponsorship from the charity and this changed my life in so many ways. Without it, I would not have been able to stay at school as no-one could afford to send me. Even my own mother couldn’t help me because she was a jobless widow.”

Simon as a sponsored child

Simon says it wasn’t only the financial aspect of his Global Care sponsorship which made an impact on his life. He explains: “I used to receive many letters from my sponsor and I was able to write back to her. We used to send pictures to each other and I loved the fact that she used to send me letters with pictures of her flower garden, which was really very nice.

“I am proud to say that the community around me also benefited. My sponsor would send me little gifts, such as pens, pencils and books, and I used to share these with some of the other children.

14-year-old Simon with 13-year-old Ben Savjani, a UK volunteer, during the volunteer visit to Soroti to mark Global Care’s 25th anniversary, in 2008

Thankfully there were other children in my community who managed to receive sponsorship from Global Care too. Without it, there would have been no-one to help us, especially not to the same level.”

Simon was sponsored for a total of nine years, by which time he had reached class four at Soroti Secondary School. After his sponsorship ended, thanks to the level of education he had achieved, he was able to secure a place at college, where he studied hard for a Diploma in Business Studies.

Since leaving college in 2015, he has begun work for a small company dealing in mobile phones and computer sales and repairs. “I love my work,” he says. “Even though I have to work hard for ten hours a day, six days a week, I am somebody who works hard and meets my targets.

“I currently live in Kampala, in one of the most popular slums in the city. It’s a cheaper place to stay although it is very crowded. I live alone in a room for single people.

“I have so many ambitions for the future, including helping and giving support to people living in poverty, especially children who cannot afford an education.

I would also like to set up strong campaigns against child labour, child abuse and forced early marriages.

“I would like to see myself one day doing charity and voluntary work and helping the needy, in the way that Global Care helped me. I can honestly say that without Global Care I would not be where I am today.”

Simon has this message for the staff and supporters of Global Care:

“To the staff, you are like our parents because you have mentored us and advised us to grow up with respect and love for one another.

“To all Global Care’s sponsors and supporters, only God can properly reward you for what you have done. You have made the decision to give help and hope to someone you don’t even know, and in doing so you have changed our lives and helped us to become people of meaning to our communities.”

I want to help

Children's names are changed and their photographs obscured for reasons of protection.