Edition:
United States
Pictures | Thu Apr 25, 2019 | 11:25am EDT

Uganda mom of multiple quadruplets struggles to provide for 38 children

Mariam Nabatanzi takes a family portrait with some of her children at their home in Kasawo village, March 8. Mariam Nabatanzi gave birth to twins a year after she was married off at the age of 12. Five more sets of twins followed - along with four sets of triplets and five sets of quadruplets.

Three years ago, however, the 39-year-old Ugandan was abandoned by her husband, leaving her to support their surviving 38 children alone.
 REUTERS/James Akena

Mariam Nabatanzi takes a family portrait with some of her children at their home in Kasawo village, March 8. Mariam Nabatanzi gave birth to twins a year after she was married off at the age of 12. Five more sets of twins followed - along with four...more

Mariam Nabatanzi takes a family portrait with some of her children at their home in Kasawo village, March 8. Mariam Nabatanzi gave birth to twins a year after she was married off at the age of 12. Five more sets of twins followed - along with four sets of triplets and five sets of quadruplets. Three years ago, however, the 39-year-old Ugandan was abandoned by her husband, leaving her to support their surviving 38 children alone. REUTERS/James Akena
Close
1 / 11
Mariam Nabatanzi's children serve a meal at their family home in Kasawo village, Mukono district, east of Kampala, Uganda March 7, 2019.  After her first sets of twins were born, Nabatanzi went to a doctor who told her she had unusually large ovaries. He advised her that birth control like pills might cause health problems.

So the children kept coming. 
  REUTERS/James Akena

Mariam Nabatanzi's children serve a meal at their family home in Kasawo village, Mukono district, east of Kampala, Uganda March 7, 2019. After her first sets of twins were born, Nabatanzi went to a doctor who told her she had unusually large...more

Mariam Nabatanzi's children serve a meal at their family home in Kasawo village, Mukono district, east of Kampala, Uganda March 7, 2019. After her first sets of twins were born, Nabatanzi went to a doctor who told her she had unusually large ovaries. He advised her that birth control like pills might cause health problems. So the children kept coming. REUTERS/James Akena
Close
2 / 11
Mariam Nabatanzi, speaks during a Reuters interview at her home in Kasawo village, March 8. 
Family sizes are at their largest in Africa. In Uganda, the fertility rate averages out at 5.6 children per woman, one of the continent's highest, and more than double the global average of 2.4 children, according to the World Bank. REUTERS/James Akena

Mariam Nabatanzi, speaks during a Reuters interview at her home in Kasawo village, March 8. Family sizes are at their largest in Africa. In Uganda, the fertility rate averages out at 5.6 children per woman, one of the continent's highest, and more...more

Mariam Nabatanzi, speaks during a Reuters interview at her home in Kasawo village, March 8. Family sizes are at their largest in Africa. In Uganda, the fertility rate averages out at 5.6 children per woman, one of the continent's highest, and more than double the global average of 2.4 children, according to the World Bank. REUTERS/James Akena
Close
3 / 11
Mariam Nabatanzi speaks about her family portraits during a Reuters interview at her home in Kasawo village, March 8. Her last pregnancy, two and a half years ago, had complications. It was her sixth set of twins and one of them died in childbirth, her sixth child to die.

Then her husband - often absent for long stretches - abandoned her. His name is now a family curse. Nabatanzi refers to him using an expletive.

"I have grown up in tears, my man has passed me through a lot of suffering," she said during an interview at her home, hands clasped as her eyes welled up. "All my time has been spent looking after my children and working to earn some money." REUTERS/James Akena

Mariam Nabatanzi speaks about her family portraits during a Reuters interview at her home in Kasawo village, March 8. Her last pregnancy, two and a half years ago, had complications. It was her sixth set of twins and one of them died in childbirth,...more

Mariam Nabatanzi speaks about her family portraits during a Reuters interview at her home in Kasawo village, March 8. Her last pregnancy, two and a half years ago, had complications. It was her sixth set of twins and one of them died in childbirth, her sixth child to die. Then her husband - often absent for long stretches - abandoned her. His name is now a family curse. Nabatanzi refers to him using an expletive. "I have grown up in tears, my man has passed me through a lot of suffering," she said during an interview at her home, hands clasped as her eyes welled up. "All my time has been spent looking after my children and working to earn some money." REUTERS/James Akena
Close
4 / 11
Mariam Nabatanzi's children rest on the verandah at their home in Kasawo village, March 8. Desperate for cash, Nabatanzi turns a hand to everything: hairdressing, event decorating, collecting and selling scrap metal, brewing local gin and selling herbal medicine. The money is swallowed up by food, medical care, clothing and school fees. REUTERS/James Akena

Mariam Nabatanzi's children rest on the verandah at their home in Kasawo village, March 8. Desperate for cash, Nabatanzi turns a hand to everything: hairdressing, event decorating, collecting and selling scrap metal, brewing local gin and selling...more

Mariam Nabatanzi's children rest on the verandah at their home in Kasawo village, March 8. Desperate for cash, Nabatanzi turns a hand to everything: hairdressing, event decorating, collecting and selling scrap metal, brewing local gin and selling herbal medicine. The money is swallowed up by food, medical care, clothing and school fees. REUTERS/James Akena
Close
5 / 11
Mariam Nabatanzi's son carries a meal at their family home in Kasawo village, March 7. Twelve of the children sleep on metal bunk beds with thin mattresses in one small room with grime-caked walls. In the other rooms, lucky children pile onto shared mattresses while the others sleep on the dirt floor.

Older children help look after the young ones and everyone helps with chores like cooking. A single day can require 25 kilograms of maize flour, Nabatanzi says. Fish or meat are rare treats.

A roster on a small wooden board nailed to a wall spells out washing or cooking duties. REUTERS/James Akena

Mariam Nabatanzi's son carries a meal at their family home in Kasawo village, March 7. Twelve of the children sleep on metal bunk beds with thin mattresses in one small room with grime-caked walls. In the other rooms, lucky children pile onto shared...more

Mariam Nabatanzi's son carries a meal at their family home in Kasawo village, March 7. Twelve of the children sleep on metal bunk beds with thin mattresses in one small room with grime-caked walls. In the other rooms, lucky children pile onto shared mattresses while the others sleep on the dirt floor. Older children help look after the young ones and everyone helps with chores like cooking. A single day can require 25 kilograms of maize flour, Nabatanzi says. Fish or meat are rare treats. A roster on a small wooden board nailed to a wall spells out washing or cooking duties. REUTERS/James Akena
Close
6 / 11
Mariam Nabatanzi's children eat a meal at their family home in Kasawo village, March 7. REUTERS/James Akena

Mariam Nabatanzi's children eat a meal at their family home in Kasawo village, March 7. REUTERS/James Akena

Mariam Nabatanzi's children eat a meal at their family home in Kasawo village, March 7. REUTERS/James Akena
Close
7 / 11
Mariam Nabatanzi's son Isaack Mubiru, 7, sits on a bed at their family home in Kasawo village, March 8. REUTERS/James Akena

Mariam Nabatanzi's son Isaack Mubiru, 7, sits on a bed at their family home in Kasawo village, March 8. REUTERS/James Akena

Mariam Nabatanzi's son Isaack Mubiru, 7, sits on a bed at their family home in Kasawo village, March 8. REUTERS/James Akena
Close
8 / 11
Mariam Nabatanzi's son prepares a meal at their family home in Kasawo village, March 7. REUTERS/James Akena

Mariam Nabatanzi's son prepares a meal at their family home in Kasawo village, March 7. REUTERS/James Akena

Mariam Nabatanzi's son prepares a meal at their family home in Kasawo village, March 7. REUTERS/James Akena
Close
9 / 11
A child walks past a family duty timetable glued on a kitchen wall at Mariam Nabatanzi's home in Kasawo village, March 8. REUTERS/James Akena

A child walks past a family duty timetable glued on a kitchen wall at Mariam Nabatanzi's home in Kasawo village, March 8. REUTERS/James Akena

A child walks past a family duty timetable glued on a kitchen wall at Mariam Nabatanzi's home in Kasawo village, March 8. REUTERS/James Akena
Close
10 / 11
Mariam Nabatanzi cleans the courtyard at her home in Kasawo village, March 8. REUTERS/James Akena

Mariam Nabatanzi cleans the courtyard at her home in Kasawo village, March 8. REUTERS/James Akena

Mariam Nabatanzi cleans the courtyard at her home in Kasawo village, March 8. REUTERS/James Akena
Close
11 / 11

Next Slideshows

Parenting tips from the World Health Organization

The World Health Organization issued new guidelines on Wednesday urging parents to limit the time children under five spend watching video screens or sitting in...

Apr 24 2019

White House Easter Egg Roll

President Trump and first lady Melania host the annual White House Easter Egg Roll.

Apr 22 2019

Celebrating Easter

Christians around the world celebrate the Easter holiday.

Apr 22 2019

Easter Parade in New York

The annual Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival in Manhattan.

Apr 22 2019

MORE IN PICTURES

World march for climate change and the environment

World march for climate change and the environment

Students around the world walked out of classes to back Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg's demands for urgent action to curb carbon emissions.

Best of Cannes

Best of Cannes

Highlights from the 72nd Cannes Film Festival on the French Riviera.

Tornadoes touch down in Missouri

Tornadoes touch down in Missouri

Tornadoes raked across southwest Missouri in the middle of the night, devastating the state capital of Jefferson City.

Suitcase bomb in Lyon

Suitcase bomb in Lyon

French police are hunting a suspected suitcase bomber after an explosion in the central city of Lyon that injured 13 people, officials said.

amfAR's Cinema Against AIDS gala

amfAR's Cinema Against AIDS gala

Inside the amfAR gala, the biggest, starriest party at the Cannes Film Festival, where top celebrities help persuade the super-rich to part with their cash to raise money for AIDS research.

Theresa May's tumultuous tenure

Theresa May's tumultuous tenure

Prime Minister Theresa May, once a reluctant supporter of EU membership who won the top job in the turmoil that followed the 2016 Brexit referendum, steps down with her central pledge - to lead the United Kingdom out of the bloc and heal its divisions - unfulfilled.

Key moments from Theresa May's three years as prime minister

Key moments from Theresa May's three years as prime minister

Highlights from Theresa May's tumultuous time in office as she bows out after nearly three years as prime minister, defeated by her inability to deliver Brexit.

Photos of the week

Photos of the week

Our top photos from the past week.

Modi wins historic election victory

Modi wins historic election victory

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised to unite the country after a big election win, with his party on course to increase its majority on a mandate of business-friendly policies and a tough stand on national security.

Trending Collections

Pictures

Podcast