This week, the newest member of the S.AL.V.E. family began school. Paul is around 6 years old (he doesn’t know his age). He began attending the drop in centre about a month ago and we soon realised he was sleeping on the street. Many of the children this age are day street children, which means they come to the street during the day to collect scraps and earn money but return to their families at night. However, for Paul, he was sleeping on the street and we realised the serious dangers for such a young child and took him immediately to the S.A.L.V.E. house where he would be safe.
At the S.A.L.V.E. house, the home assistant worked with Paul to find out more about his situation and what led him to the street. We discovered that Paul had been living in Masese, a local slum area just outside of Jinja. He was living with his Aunt as his Mum had abandoned him there two years ago and had not been seen since. He did not know his father.
Two home tracing visits to Masese confirmed that what Paul had told us was true. We met with his Aunt who told us that she had been caring for Paul for the past two years but that she could not afford to care for him any longer. She had 6 of her own children and was sick so was unable to work and earn money. Most days they didn’t eat and the house they were staying in was not more that 2 meters square. Certainly not enough space for 8 people to sleep. The other children were jealous of Paul and often beat him to show they didn’t want him there.
On top of this, the living conditions in Masese are awful. There is sewage running everywhere, it is dangerous, particularly at night and there are high levels of infectious disease. With this in mind, it was decided between the S.A.L.V.E. staff and Paul’s Aunt that the best thing for Paul would be for us to take him into our home.
Paul began school this week in Primary 1. He is very happy to be going to school and knows he is very lucky. He has settled in very well to the S.A.L.V.E. house and we are very happy to welcome him as part of the family.
Dangers on the street
There are many dangers that children are exposed to on the street. For Paul, at such a young age, these are even more serious and it was vital that we took him away from these dangers quickly. There is constant fighting, the older boys steal from the younger ones and there is peer pressure to begin sniffing mafuta (aeroplane fuel) and police round-ups which leave them in prison.
You can help us take more vulnerable children like Paul away from the dangers they face living on the street by sponsoring a child. For as little as £35 per month you can turn a child’s life around and allow them the support and love they deserve. You can find out more about child sponsorship here or by emailing email@example.com