A SALVE social worker is talking to a child who is on the streets

A journey back to happiness

Emma* is 16 years old and is from a district in the East of Uganda.

Emma lived with his father and his step mother but when his father was away for work, his step mum would mistreat him. She would deny him food and other basic needs and make him work. Despite having money for his school fees she would make Emma go and dig in other peoples’ gardens so that he could raise the money for his school fees himself.

Emma did this for some time but one day, decided he had enough. He left home with the hope of finding his maternal grandparents in a different district.

He walked for two days and ended up in Jinja city. When he arrived he was so tired after walking so long on foot and he sought people to support him with food or shelter but one did. That very first night he slept on the streets of Jinja and then began picking plastics and scrap to sell and to get food to eat.

A new normal

Emma began living on the street full time for six months. He survived by picking plastics and  fetching water for people to get food to eat. One day, he was met by S.A.L.V.E.’s Street Outreach team when he was carrying water in the jerrycans to take to a market in order to be given breakfast.

After his breakfast, Emma decided to follow the team to S.A.L.V.E. Drop in Centre for more support. He was able to get food to eat, wash his clothes and himself.

The team spoke to him about exactly had happened at home. Emma was able to explain the whole story about his stepmother’s treatment of him, getting lost in Jinja and ending up on the streets.

Finding the right home

As a result of all this the team asked him if he would be willing to come to the S.A.L.V.E. Halfway Homes where he would receive more counselling and also the chance to trace for his other family members. While staying at our residential site, his father attended for family counselling and his grandparents were successfully traced. It was decided that the best home for Emma would be with his grandparents who showed him much love and care.

Emma is now living with his grandparents and is happy to be with them and they are delighted to have their grandson home.

Emma and his family thank S.A.L.V.E. for all they have done to give him a chance of a happy future.

* names have been changed in line with our Child Protection Policy

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