Buikwe District: In the realm largely associated with the physically abled, Davis Malisi, known as Big David, has defied all odds to become a beacon of hope for struggling children. The 51-year-old tailor, residing in Bujuta C village in Nyenga Buikwe district, has not let his disability hinder his pursuit of a meaningful life. Malisi’s inspiring journey is a testament to his resilience and his commitment to uplifting others.
Malisi’s story is one of triumph over adversity. Despite not attending primary or secondary school, he discovered his passion for tailoring as a means of survival. Afflicted by Polio at the tender age of 3, Malisi’s legs were left weakened, confining him to a wheelchair. Born into a financially challenged family that had migrated from South Sudan to work in Kakira’s Madhivani sugarcane plantations in Jinja district, Malisi’s early life was marked by hardship.
At 19, after years of struggling with his condition, Malisi’s family sought medical intervention, taking him to Mulago hospital for treatment. Unfortunately, his condition showed no improvement, leaving him with lifelong mobility challenges. However, fate smiled upon him when he caught the attention of God Shepherd Fold, a nonprofit organization led by Wen Walker. The organization took Malisi under its wing in 1993, providing him a nurturing environment and imparting him with skills that would later transform his life.
Located in Buwundo (Najjembe), the orphanage, which had relocated from Wairaka in Jinja district, served as a haven for children with disabilities. It was here that Malisi’s passion for tailoring ignited, and he honed his skills to perfection. Despite his physical limitations, Malisi showcased remarkable talent in designing, leading to contracts for crafting school uniforms. This marked the beginning of his journey towards self-sufficiency.
With a heart full of gratitude, Malisi decided to pay forward the opportunities he received. He established Living Hope Ministries, a community-based organization dedicated to providing hope to underprivileged children. His vision extended beyond hope; he aimed to equip these children with practical skills that could shape their futures. Not limited to tailoring, Malisi also envisions offering training in catering, plumbing, hairdressing, and other vocational fields to those who had dropped out of school.
Supported by his wife Stella Anite, Malisi’s organization is a beacon of change. Through his perseverance, he now owns over 20 sewing machines, a car, an impressive house, and rentals. He reminisces about his journey from a struggling orphan to a successful tailor and entrepreneur, emphasizing the role of the orphanage in his transformation.
Malisi’s impact is tangible through the stories of his students. Annah Namugosa, a student turned successful entrepreneur, showcases the ripple effect of his dedication. Malisi’s guidance allowed her to master various designs and eventually purchase her sewing machines. She now earns a living by designing school uniforms and other garments while also passing on her knowledge to others.
In his quest to empower the marginalized, Malisi calls upon the support of government entities, organizations, and individuals. He aims to provide food and support to his learners who are struggling to cover the costs of their education. Malisi’s vision for a brighter future for those he teaches is attainable with the support of well-wishers.
Davis Malisi’s story is one of transformation, resilience, and the power of determination. As he imparts skills and hope to young minds, he proves that with unwavering dedication, anyone can rise above challenges and make a meaningful impact on society.