At the age of 10 in 2002, Tadius was taken in by his aunt and placed in an institution for shelter and education. He remained there until 2019, when he transitioned to independent living. While at the institution, Tadius and his peers had to walk a long distance to attend school, which was challenging due to safety concerns. Although he was provided with basic necessities, emotional security was not always guaranteed.
Tadius witnessed the injustices within the institution, where some children were given preferential treatment and resources, while others were neglected and bullied. There was also a tribalism culture present, where children who spoke different languages were targeted. Any mistakes made by the children were harshly punished.
Tadius recalls, “Everyday I was reminded about my family background. My parents would call and advise us to respect our caretakers. There were moments when I talked to my mother on the phone and she was sick. I wished to be there for her but that wasn’t possible.“
Music became a source of comfort for Tadius in the absence of his mother, and he confided in his friends at the institution about his struggles. With regular guidance from social workers, Tadius and his peers became more confident and prepared to venture out into the world. The fear of venturing out was rooted in the lack of job opportunities and personal strategies for young people.
Tadius graduated in 2018 when the institution introduced Child’s i Foundation and its transition program. The Foundation supported Tadius and his peers to resettle into independent living. Tadius was able to launch a small business, which was given financial support to grow.
Tadius shares, “I’m grateful to Child’s i Foundation for their support. My life has changed now. They supported me with rent for my house and shop, and boosted capital for my business. I now deal in phone accessories and operate a mobile money service center.“
Tadius has a supportive network of friends, family, and peers, who offer help with his business and provide a listening ear. He also offers support to his friends who come to him with their issues.The wellbeing training facilitated by Child’s i Foundation helped Tadius increase his self-esteem, leading to his appointment as a Youth Representative in his community. As part of the training, Tadius was able to reunite with six of his former classmates, who now regularly meet to discuss life and how to overcome obstacles.
Tadius suggests that institutions should be transformed into hubs that benefit the entire community, offering skill-building programs instead of confinement. He says, “I will be so happy when I come back to visit and I see that place offering early childhood education.“