Listen to an interview with Innocent

I am Innocent Okia, 18 years old from Gulu, Uganda

I was born in an extended family of 6 children. I am the first born in my family; we lived in a happy home because our parents were still alive. I wished to always stay with my parents until the end, but war had to fulfill its’ promise of death, by taking them away from us.

My father passed away in 1997 after the rebels came from the bush. He was on his way to buy things for his shop. My father was a good businessman. The rebels skinned him alive and they took all his money.

Then we stayed with our mother. She was a strong woman and she loved us so much. She did everything to make us happy. She was a nursing aid in an Army Hospital. So one day the rebels attacked a certain place so people were killed and injured. They sent medical nurses to go there and save people’s lives. She was attacked on their way back from the rescue.

Life continued. Lucky enough I found my uncle who managed to take care of us with his own children. He liked us, but the wife would mislead him, so we became mistreated and helpless.

I found my way to Mbale Town where I met a friend on the streets. He knew my situation, he told me to stay with him. He was teaching me street life, to steal and smoke weed. It was bad for me and bothered my mind, because I had a family who needed me and I loved my brothers and sisters.

One day there was a director of a school who came registering the kids on the streets. So it happened that I joined and I went to his orphanage where I met mum Jane. I am in her organization now, called ABU – Active Blessing Uganda. She is good to us. She shows us parental love, and she paid for all our school and she supports my art club and sells my art. I take care of my younger brothers and sisters with the income. I carry on my mother’s medical work, by taking care of the medical needs of the kids in ABU.

I also have in my mind and heart to show compassion towards the orphans and the needy people all over the world the way mum Jane shows us kids in Africa. May the Mighty God grant my heart’s desire. May God Bless mum Jane.