One of the children we support in our Drug Rehabilitation Programme called James* is 17 years old and started using drugs when he was 11 years old. After the death of his father, James’ mother struggled to stay within their community due to neglect from her late husbands family and so moved to be closer to her own family in a poor community near to Jinja.
To make some money, James’ mother did some chores within her new community but could barely make 3,000 shillings a day (£0.65) and struggled to support James. Her situation was not improving and so she eventually left him with her own mother to go and look for work further afield. However, James’ grandmother also lived in poverty and struggled to support him and he ended up being passed between neighbours. James has told us that he even lived with a family who changed his name and religion to fit their household and family. James had no say on his own life, living situation or even his name.
Turning to the streets…
After seeing many friends and children within the community go to the street, James decided that he too would join them as he was not happy and did not have a house to call home. While he was on the streets, he was introduced to many challenges as he did not know what to expect. This was when James started to use drugs, namely mafuta (aeroplane fuel) and marijuana. He took these drugs because his friends told him that they would mask the pain; the pain of feeling hungry, sick and cold and let him forget about his family.
During many times of meeting James through our street walks, he would not be sober and grew thinner and thinner. His situation was worsening and began to get very ill due to not being able to access any medical treatment.
A move to the Drug Rehabilitation Centre
After many months of building a relationship with James, he eventually decided that he was ready to change and make some positive decisions in his life by joining S.A.L.V.E.’s unique Drug Rehabilitation Programme. James felt that this was life changing for him; he got the care that he never received during his childhood. He could eat healthy food and sleep without fear; whilst detoxing and overcoming his addiction. James has been in our Drug Rehabilitation Programme for five months now and is changing his life for the better.
S.A.L.V.E. was able to home trace James’ paternal relatives and he got to see his sister. The family was very happy to see him and James was very happy to know that he has a home with them when he has completed his rehabilitation and is ready to return to the community. At last, James can have the safe, secure and loving family care that he never had.
“I never knew that I would ever get a chance to see my family again”
*The child’s name has been changed in line with our child protection policy