By Patrick Nyakuta
It looked like a primary school, with all kinds of kids running around and playing all sorts of games; with some smaller kids crying profoundly certainly to grab attention of the few young adults around. These kids have come here not to be taught SST. They call this home. This orphanage was started by Mama Atuneta Abiria, way back in 1965. It started with 3 children of her uncle who had just passed on. As years passed on, community members from Ubala quarters etc kept on bringing abandoned children in streets etc to her for help.
Being driven by passion for humanity, she could not send away children. This forced her to part ways with her husband and own biological children. He at first settled in Gaagaa quarter Koboko town but later had to relocate near to Ombaci Parents primary school the orphans could afford some education from the school.
Mama Atonute Abiria is an 80 year woman, devote catholic Christian. According Mr. Wayi David who works with Partners in Community Delopment (PICOT), Mama was inspired by surrounding circumstance during that time and the subsequent turbulent moments that sent people to exile.
From 1965 upto date, over 200 children have grown up successful in her hands, though the records are scanty to trace some of them. As per now, the numbers of house hold members stands at 57 persons. According to the 19 year old Hassan who was brought there 7months, he can`t leave this home though he discovered his dad`s place. Similarly Onyango 18 years does not know his parents or relatives because he was brought there at 3 months old. He only knows that he is of Luo origin. Both have completed senior 4 and they are hopeful to continue though resources are not readily available.
With this enormous task of raising other people`s children, Mama Atuneta Abiria faces numerous challenges from lack of food, money, shelter etc. She survives on hand outs from community members which are not common. The only house on compound was offered by a Danish philanthropist. What started as a support to orphans left by her uncle in 1965, has busted to be home for over 200 people over the years. It appears impossible until it is done. End