Fergus Moran Award 2017

EVENT: Fergus Moran Award 2017

AUTHOR: Immaculate Nanyonga

Last week, children and staff at Retrak Uganda crowned Asha* as the 2017 winner of the Fergus Moran award. This award is given in memory of Fergus Moran, a keen supporter of Retrak, who tragically passed away when he was 12 years old. The annual award, now in its fifth year, seeks to identify, recognize and reward a child for their exceptional qualities.

Asha was selected after much discussion and debate by the girls at Bulamu centre with words like loving, caring, courageous, generous, peaceful, self-motivated and mother, used by many to describe her.

Asha, aged 14, has been with Retrak for 4 months. She left home from rural Uganda to come to Kampala in search of a job in order to raise money to pay for her secondary education. The year before she had successfully completed her primary Leaving Examinations. Tragically, at the same time, she lost her parents and completely lost hope. She came to Kampala, with high hopes – to find work, save money for school and get her life back on track.

Sadly, Asha ended up on the street, unable to find a job, not knowing what to do, and at high risk of being pulled into the dangers of city life. One day, miserable and crying, a well wisher took her to a local police station, which then referred her to the Retrak centre.

According to the children, ever since Asha joined the centre, she has not changed her “great” personality especially in terms of smartness, kindness, hard work, and selflessness.
One girl said, “Asha wakes up and pulls up the covers of those whose blankets have slipped off in the night. She supports us while washing our own clothes and encourages us to maintain good morals at the centre.”

Overwhelmed by emotion and shock at being chosen to get the award, Asha humbly thanked all her friends. Asha is currently working with the Retrak staff to plan for her future. She hopes very much to return to school and start a new life with some members of her extended family in another district that the staff have tracked down.

*name changed to protect her identity.