I am Peter, a permaculture teacher working in community empowerment at S.A.L.V.E. International. Our organisation gives choices to the children from the streets of Jinja. Where most people see them as useless and a wasted life, we at S.A.L.V.E. empower them to turn into a useful and fulfilled person. Through a range of activities provided at the S.A.L.V.E. residential site and our Drop in Centres, which include educational support, rehabilitation, child counselling, permaculture training and many more, we have helped these children change into promising citizens of the future.
Here is the story of a boy I worked with named Lucky who was the oldest of four children. Aged 6, his parents separated and his mother left the village with all the siblings. His father moved to Kampala where he remarried, whilst Lucky lived in a town 10km away from the capital with his mother for 3 years. However, his father decided then to move Lucky to Kampala to live with him and his stepmother. His father then got yet another wife, leaving Lucky with his stepmother. She mistreated him so badly that it forced him to run to the streets of Kampala where he stayed for a week before moving to Jinja. Life was really tough on the streets, so Lucky decided to go home.
However, the situation at home worsened. His stepmother believed Lucky’s mother had bewitched her own two children to death and she blamed Lucky. She was angry and punished him, denying him food and making him do difficult work for someone of his age. He once again fled to the streets of Jinja where the social workers from S.A.L.V.E. met him. They persuaded him to attend the Drop In Centre for counselling; however, he was scared and struggled to trust us and ran away after one day. The team searched for him and encouraged him to return.
Returning to S.A.L.V.E.
After several counselling sessions at the Centre, he was transferred to the S.A.L.V.E. residential site and lived at the Halfway Home where he was welcomed by staff who showed him great love and care. They gave him a variety of tasks such as cooking, washing plates and gardening and Lucky showed a keen interest in the permaculture work. Through these lessons he learnt many skills and developed knowledge that he plans to use in the future upon return to his mother. Some of the skills he acquired at the S.A.L.V.E. site include growing and maintaining different crops like maize, vegetables and beans intercropped together, as well as animal health management. Lucky is so thankful to S.A.L.V.E. for the great work they have done with him and the other children that live on the street of Jinja that they support, care and counsel.
No Street Called Home
We at S.A.L.V.E. believe these children and their families need support to enable them to live a happy life because there is ‘No Street Called Home’. We achieve this through counselling and education, both at the S.A.L.V.E. residential site and at the family home with follow ups. Every child should have the opportunity to be raised in a suitable way that enables them to develop their potential and grow into a responsible and good person.