“I know it’s hard to understand; ‘We are a family and we work so that they don’t miss anything.’

“I know it’s hard to understand; ‘We are a family and we work so that they don’t miss anything.’

Maria Galland, along with her mother and aunt, runs the Uganda Children’s Foundation.

  • She has a degree in economics and international business and runs the Babies Uganda Foundation with her mother and aunt

  • “This is their home and will be for the rest of their lives,” he says of the foundation, which is not a temporary home and does not seek to give children up for adoption.

  • In a conversation with Yas from Uganda, she said: “Being a woman in charge of this project is difficult, but little by little we have managed to gain respect for us.”

Maria Galland’s story is simple and impressive At the same time. Simple because of the way she tells it, of course, as if the path she has chosen for her life is the most conventional in the world. A shock to anyone listening: at the age of 25, she was already the mother of a family He has 32 adopted children in Uganda.

It all started with his mother, Montse Martinez. Aware of the reality of children in this country, he was looking for an organization to collaborate with, and Maribel García, a Spanish woman who was already volunteering for an NGO in Uganda, came across his path. Together they discover that there are too many children who need a home and decide to take care of it. They took over an orphanage that was about to closeAs abandoned children arrived, many of them suffering from health problems or malnutrition, over time They were able to establish the Uganda Children FoundationTo give these minors a real home.

“The children are not up for adoption, this is a family and I am their mother.”, is the first thing that Maria Galan clarifies in her conversation with Yas. This site is communicated from the home you live in with them, and may sometimes be interrupted by your children laughing around you. Maria speaks to them in English, although she is slowly learning Ugandan as well.

The decision to stay and live there was not hasty.. He has been thinking about it since he started traveling to collaborate with his mother in this project that was at first very small and today has become enormous: two houses, a clinic, an elementary school, and they are moving towards more: high school, sports and work insertion spaces. “I realized I didn’t want to be anywhere else but here.”. I asked for validation of my university training [estudió Economía y Negocios Internacionales] “Then Covid came… and I stayed,” he says. Today she lives there year-round, while Montes and Maribel, whom she considers her aunt, are in Spain in charge of fundraising and public relations.

Woman, young, foreigner and director of the foundation: “It is a sexist society, but little by little I overcame the prejudices”

His last move took place in 2020. He was 22 years old at the time and knew that what he faced was very big, but he was not afraid. “This is a sexist society, where women are still destined to stay at home, and it was difficult at first.”He recounts and highlights that “little by little” he was able to overcome those prejudices: “When they see that your commitment is real… you have to show more for them to respect you, but today everyone here treats me well.”

However, not everything is rosy. Maria admits it There were times when I felt frustrated. But he never lowered his arms: “Desire can do anything, and if I have anything, it is desire.”

It was the same with children. He has children of all ages up to their teens. Gaining their trust was a solo mission. “It was building the bond little by little. At first I didn’t quite understand how to communicate with them but with patience it became possible.. Now I understand every look and every gesture, I know what they need and how to be a safe space for them.

Being a mother of 32

“A lot of patience. It’s something I learned here. “In Spain, I wanted everything now, and here everything takes time,” is Maria’s first reflection in response to everything she experiences as a mother of 32 Ugandan children. “We are a family,” he says. He focuses on that word. Although he realizes that he is too young to bear this great responsibility, he lives it with joy because he feels this way. For her, this was not a deliberate decision, but rather the result of being there every day, working for a bigger cause: providing a home for the children. If you can do that for someone, why wouldn’t you? Many will have other answers to this question. Maria has only one: “We are lucky that we were able to find a solution to these children’s problems. This is what we are doing.”

So she started her family there and does not think about having biological children: “I am already a mother,” she answers without hesitation.

The case of Vincent, the boy who does not smile

Vincent is one of the children who came home a few months ago with a really complex condition: He has cerebral palsyIt is a syndrome that they have not yet been able to name because it requires a genetic study for which area hospitals do not have the technology, but The truth is, he never smiled. In addition, he has a club foot, that is, curled inward, and arrived with a severe case of malnutrition.

“You have two options, either go down with him or say you are in good hands, and we will do everything for you,” says Maria, who clearly chose the second option. It also appears on his Instagram account. The boy has developed a lot since returning home.. He is well-nourished and, thanks to orthopedic treatment, his feet are corrected. As he grows older, they will undergo further studies to understand what syndrome he has and how to help him grow healthy.

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