Meet Elia

Elia (left) was born in Nakivale, Uganda in the camp where his parents found refuge after war broke out in DR Congo. He is one of 9 children who lived in a house of 3 rooms made of bricks with dirt floors. 

His main memories involved playing soccer with friends. The family had cattle that he looked after, though the camp was hot and there was no fresh water. Sometimes there was no food for days. It took 35 minutes to walk to school. 

The huge surprise for Elia arriving in Rhode Island was finding out that school was free. Elia loves this and knows it's helpful to his family. In Uganda, he liked science but his favorite subjects right now are learning English and History. 

Elia claims to be shy, but he heard about our program through a friend and right away sent us a text saying "I need a job." While customer service is never easy as an English-learner, Elia challenges himself at farmers' markets and other events to take initiative in talking to strangers. He believes this has helped build his confidence and we hope many of you have had a chance to meet him. He has especially appreciated having his own money to help him buy necessities for school. Elia is a senior and wants to go to college next year. He's interested in business and mechanical engineering. 

Written by Meggean Ward

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