Plans for school
Agnes* is a 16 year old girl. She was brought to Jinja by her uncle when she was 11 with the promise that he would take her to school and give her a good education. However, when she arrived at his home Agnes was put to work taking care of his nine sons, washing their clothes, cooking and doing housework.
At first Agnes thought he would take her to school when the new term started, but when it arrived and his sons went back to school and she did not, Agnes asked her uncle about this. He replied angrily that girls are not meant to go to school and he was training her to become a good housewife.
Made to work
Agnes became depressed seeing her other girl friends go to school as she felt she, like everyone, should have a chance to study and improve her future prospects. Eventually her uncle’s wife stopped giving her food and told her to start looking for money to buy her own food since they were providing her with shelter.
So Agnes began looking for scrap to sell in Jinja with other children who also could not afford school fees. All the money she was getting her uncle took, until he stopped working and relied on her earnings. If she came home without money she was beaten.
One day Agnes was found crying by a group of girls who took pity on her and she started living with them in their rented accommodation. At first the situation was good and she was happy but she had to work hard to pay for things such as food, water and medication. As well as selling scrap she started working in bars, sometimes having to dance for money. During this time Agnes started drinking and using drugs such as mafuta to build her self-confidence and she quickly became addicted.
A hopeful future
S.A.L.V.E. International staff found Agnes on the streets and told her about our Drug Rehabilitation Programme and how she could benefit from it. Agnes agreed to join the programme and has been at S.A.L.V.E.’s Drug Rehabilitation Centre for four months. During this time we have counselled her about the dangers of drugs and she has stopped. We also met Agnes’s uncle and spoke to him about the reasons why she ran away. He now understands the importance of her receiving an education and has agreed to take Agnes back to her parents with support from the S.A.L.V.E. team. Agnes is very excited to see them again and feels her life will now be transformed for the better thanks to S.A.L.V.E.
*Name changed in line with our Child Protection Policy