Muhamed (Med) Ssewagaba is an acid attack survivor who was burnt on December 26, 1999. On that day, he left work at 2 PM and was going back home. On the way back, he passed by a thicket near a big tree (he usually went this way). The perpetrator hid himself in this place and poured acid on Med when he passed by. Med felt a lot of heat, and he screamed and ran home.
His sisters poured water on him, which helped him. After that, they rushed to the area where he was attacked and told also told their relatives. They brought a car to take him to the hospital, but the car engine refused to start for an hour. They had to bring another car and finally took him to the nearest hospital. He stayed there for a night and then was transferred to Mulago hospital where he stayed for 2 years, without getting better. During that time, he got fed up and started asking to be discharged. He kept on asking until they finally discharged him.
He spent 6 months at home. He decided to go back to work again but it wasn’t easy because he had to keep his whole body covered. He worked for about a month, but he got fed up with covering his whole body. After a year of working, he started traveling through Kampala and found other survivors. He met a survivor in a hospital who told him about an organization who was helping acid attack survivors with their treatment and training them for different jobs. He worked with that organization for 4 years. He eventually left, and when he got back home, he started working for another 2 years. He found Jamidah who directed him to RISE. He learned how to make motorcycle covers and umbrellas due to RISE’s empowerment.
Before the pandemic started, he was selling second hand clothing. But when the pandemic started, everything was locked down and he couldn’t go to the market to shop for clothing. All his capital was gone because he had to pay rent. He’s waiting for more capital, so he can shop for clothing and sell second-hand clothing again. If he had a shop, he could sell different things but he doesn’t have the capital to sell things again. He is grateful for RISE because RISE has done so much for the acid attack survivors. RISE kept on following them and empowering them by helping them with their businesses.
Before the acid attack, Med was living at home with his two sisters. The perpetrator turned out to be his sister’s boyfriend. He and Med worked together, and Med had more customers than him. He was jealous of Med’s success, so he attacked Med with acid. The perpetrator only got 3 years in prison because he paid money. The government does not do much to support acid attack survivors.
It was also hard for him to get married. However, now he is married to Fatuma Nasereka, another acid attack survivor. She was burnt in 2007, and she still doesn't know who burnt her. No one in power is helping them. His wife is blind, but she can still do a lot of things around the house. He has 5 children, and one died young. Because of the pandemic, they have been out of school for 2 years. Currently, he is staying with his family: his two brothers, his mother, his wife and children. Pictured below are his daughter and son.
He enjoys music and he is a fan of Celine Dion and other international artists. He is also a fan of football, especially Liverpool.