This is the true story of Emmanuel*. Emmanuel is in primary seven and he stays with his aunt in the village. Emmanuel’s dad died when he was still young, leaving him and his brothers with an Aunt. Emmanuel left his aunt’s home and came to the street. But after some time, S.A.L.V.E. staffs found him on the street, and began to work with him.
I came to know Emmanuel during the Resilience Camp which was held in January at the land of S.A.L.V.E. He was introduced to me by another member of staff, as I was to be his new case manager. After this, we became friends. In Uganda, children go back to school in February, so soon the time came for me to go and pay school fees for him, and also to visit his home. I was welcomed by his Aunty and his brother, telling me more about Emmanuel’s background.
His brother told me that after their dad died, when they were still young, their Aunt was assigned to be in charge of their dad’s wealth, such as their land and other property, but she did not want them to access it, so all of his brothers and sisters were all living in harsh situations. Emmanuel told me that he resorted to staying on street due to the bad situation at home. His Aunt was not feeding him, or when she did, it was simply dry posho (boiled maize flour) with nothing else, done deliberately to punish Emmanuel.
When S.A.L.V.E. befriended him, he was taken off the street and started going to boarding school. However, Emmanuel was now used to the harsh life on the streets and felt he could not settle down and study, so he ended up sadly returning to the streets.
S.A.L.V.E. again started from where we had left off; we met him on the streets until he was ready be home traced again. We tried different relatives, different times. This time, he was taken to a day school as we saw the influence of his older brother helped him. I counselled Emmanuel on being kind to his Aunty despite their disagreements, and to be patient with her. But I made sure he understood if he was having any problems, he could turn to S.A.L.V.E. to help him. I promised to make another follow up, as well as to continue one to one counselling, and later group counselling with his Aunt.
On the second follow up, I was welcomed very well at their home, and then spent time with his Aunt. She told me that Emmanuel had changed and stopped moving with bad peer groups and concentrating on his studies because he sees that there is light in education. I also got time to talk to Emmanuel himself. He told me that his Aunt had started feeding him properly, and that he now had accesses to all basic needs at home, although his Aunt was still vulnerable due to poverty.
My intervention helped the two parties to reunite and overcome the bitterness between them. Misunderstandings and mistakes happen in all families and counselling can bring a happy resolution for everyone.
* Emmanuel’s name has been changed in line with our data protection policy.