Ujima ni kuweka mambo sawa?


Oct 19, 2007
Hapa naendelea kupata wasiwasi wa upotoshwaji wa lugha yetu tukuka

Story Created: Oct 30, 2007

Story Updated: Oct 31, 2007

Project Ujima
Shelley Walcott

'Ujima' is a Swahili word that means 'Making Things Right'. That's just what a city program called 'Project Ujima' is trying to do.

Julius Bullock is 25-years-old. He's a budding musician, and grateful to be alive.

Julius describes one of his original songs: "I got a best friend named Henry, but he kind of passed away. And this song was to him."

As a child, Julius was in and out of foster homes. By the time he was in his early teens, he spent nearly all his time on the streets as a member of a street gang called the 'Vice Lords'. Then...a life-changing event.

"I got shot when I was 14. I was selling drugs. Doing the kind of stuff I had no business doing at that age," Julius says.

The bullet hit his spinal chord, and left him paralyzed in a wheelchair. During his stay at Children's Hospital, Julius considered suicide, until some members of Project Ujima came to see him. Dr. Marlene Melzer-Lange works with the program.

"Project Ujima serves children who are aged 7 to 18 who come to the Emergency Department at Children's Hospital with an injury related to either an assault, a shooting or a stabbing," Dr. Melzer-Lange explains.

Project Ujima just celebrated its 10-year anniversary. It was the first violence prevention program of its kind in Milwaukee: A joint effort of the Medical College of Wisconsin, Children's Hospital, Children's Service Society, and a host of other agencies. The program helps about 250 troubled kids every year. Providing physical, psychological and social counseling.

"Once you become a victim, you are much more likely not to finish school. You are much more likely to injure other people because you might get upset about being hurt, and you might suffer significant mental health problems," Dr. Melzer-Lange says.

Project Ujima mentors made sure Julius had clothes, food, and something even more critical...

"It gave me somebody to talk to when I didn't have anybody to talk to," Julius says.

Julius says he credits the program for saving his life. "If I didn't get shot I probably would have still been in the hood, still trying to sell drugs, still been trying to do something illegal or even worse...dead."

Julius will be a mentor at a summer camp Project Ujima is running this summer.

Project Ujima also offers help to adult crime victims and their families.


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