Dennis Mukasa was the first child to receive support from the Cosma Foundation. Orphaned in 1999, he was living alone in his parents’ house at the age of six when an adult in the village directed him to Cosma.
“I came with nothing but my clothes,” he says, gesturing to the Cosma house, where he has lived since he first arrived there. “I thought I was going to be a street kid.”
Cosma has supported Dennis, now seventeen, for most of his life, paying for his school fees, scholastic materials, clothing, and other living expenses. Dennis is determined to become a brain surgeon, and set on the goal of graduating from high school first in his class. If he can achieve this, the district will pay his university tuition. Dennis scored first on his Ordinary Level exams last year.
“To become a doctor would be like going straight to heaven,” Dennis says, smiling broadly. Asked what he would want if he could have three wishes in the world, he thinks for a moment, then says: “To be a doctor, then a nurse, then a medical assistant.”
As Dennis has grown, Cosma has as well. The Foundation began with just one child, and while it has continued to support him for over a decade, it has expanded by nearly fifty children in that time. Dennis said that though it is a challenge for Cosma to make ends meet and send all its charges to school, it is now able to send them to better schools than it did at the beginning. Still, there are still better schools available in the district, and Dennis said that attending them would improve his chances of scoring well on the national exam that will determine his ability to afford a university-level education.
Dennis believes strongly in the importance of education, not only for himself, but for the other children Cosma supports as well. He said he thinks that putting them all through school is the best way to change his community for the better. For example, those who go to school for agriculture will be able to improve farming practices and combat famine and poverty.
“Cosma thinks through education, all the children can make the village better,” he says.