In this episode of About Your Mother, you will meet Peter Mutabazi – a remarkable human being who survived a traumatic childhood, only to use that experience to transform lives. He ran away from an abusive father at the age of ten and was homeless on the streets for four years until a stranger asked him his name. That gesture changed his life forever. However, that isn’t Peter’s story. His story is so much more than that.
He has used his experience to lift the lives of those who need our help most. It started with global relief efforts, and now he has been a foster dad to sixteen kids. His mission is to make sure every child is known.
Prepare to be in awe of Peter Mutabazi: his courage, empathy, and will to change the lives of the four hundred thousand foster children in our system.
Joining me during this episode is my partner in Adoption/Foster Stories, Jeff Forney. If you want to learn more about Jeff’s story and work, please listen to episode 010.
A Mother’s Love
When asked about his mother, Peter has nothing but love and appreciation for how she cared for her children despite their situation. Raised in a culture where women are viewed as second-class citizens, Peter lived with an abusive father. Despite this, it did not stop his mother from raising her children with kindness and love. Her lesson that the impossible is possible was taught to him by his mother.
“She said, ‘Look, wrong people and bad behaviors will always come, but you have a right, and you have an opportunity to not always to act the same way.’ That gave me empathy for that, that yes, I don’t like my dad in some way. That somehow gave me the opportunity to no-repeat who my dad was or to think that was okay.” – Peter Mutabazi
Peter’s mother has given him the best values and principles in life on how to have empathy.
Running Away From Home
At the age of four, Peter began to realize that not only were they poor, but his father was also an abusive man. So for him, hope wasn’t there in any shape or form, and his mother was the small ray of sunshine in his life.
Yet, at the age of ten, he could not take it anymore, so he ran away from home. To survive, he became a street kid. For Peter, it was better to be miserable in the streets than be abused by the one person who was supposed to be his protector.
So for four years, he lived as a street kid. During those four years, no one had asked him who he was or what his name is. Yet a stranger stopped one day and asked him, “Hey, what’s your name?” Over time, he had grown close to this visitor, who eventually offered him a chance to go to school.
“He saw the potential in me. He didn’t see the dirty thief boy, but a little boy that had an opportunity to be someone, and he said, ‘I will offer that. I will be there for him.’ For the first time, someone saw me as a human being. The message changed my life. So I went to school – not because I wanted to be somebody, but for the very first time, I had was seen as a human being. Another person has seen me as someone who had potential.” – Peter Mutabazi
Being a Father to Others
Dads have the right to be vulnerable, a right to be tender...I have learned to be all, just like moms, when they need that. - Peter Mutabazi Click To Tweet
When this kind stranger took Peter in, he made sure Peter knew he was valuable. By using words of affirmation, Peter felt he mattered and belonged. However, there was one word that stuck to Peter – that he was a gift. A gift to his family and a gift to everyone.
Given a chance to give back to others, he decided to be a foster dad himself when he grew up.
“The reason why I became a foster dad was he had done so much for me. He has allowed me to have a family, go to school, and then travel over the world. So when I came to United States. I really wanted to give back. They say, ‘To whom much is given, much is required.’ I had been given so much that I wanted to give back as well.” – Peter Mutabazi
Though he understood that foster kids came from hardships, difficulties, or even abuse, he had been in the situation himself. His past experience helped him empathize and offer support where they need it the most.
To learn more about Peter Mutabazi and how to lead with empathy, no matter the circumstance, download and listen to this episode.
Peter Mutabazi is an international advocate for vulnerable communities and children. He is the founder and creator of Now I Am Known, a keynote speaker, Coordinator for Forever Family, and a Senior Advocate for World Vision. He believes every child and young person, especially the forgotten, neglected, or abused, deserves to be celebrated, seen, heard, and known.
Peter is a single dad who has fostered 16 kids and adopted one (so far). When he’s not speaking or advocating for others, he enjoys running, skiing, and spending time with his kids and his puppy, Simba.
Connect with Peter!