A downward angle shot of a child, hand in hand with an adult in a street setting

Finding his roots

Alex* is an only child. His parents fell in love and after a while, his mother conceived, but in the end it didn’t work out.

She was pregnant when she married someone else who was willing to take care of her and her unborn baby.

Life was going well for her and a few months later she gave birth to her son, Alex. The family grew bigger as she became pregnant with her second child. They did not know the sex of the second baby, but when it was born it was not well. About a week later, the baby died and shortly after, the mother also died.

Looking for a new home

Alex was still very young, and he was left in the care of his stepfather. His stepfather did not know what to do with the child since he was in shock after losing both his wife and baby and he felt stranded with Alex. He took Alex to the man who was with his mother previously but the family did not accept him as theirs.

The stepfather brought the boy home and looked after him for a while. He heard about an organisation that would take care of the child and even see him through school, but it was Christian. He had to change the child’s name from his Muslim one to a Christian one in order for him to be admitted into the organisation. He was accepted there and started going to school. His life started improving and his stepfather also moved on with his own life.

A troubled youth

However, it didn’t stay this way for long. The boy started stealing things to sell and had other disciplinary issues so the people of the organisation expelled him from their care.

He did not know any of his family apart from his stepfather so he went back to him but he was not interested because he was not his biological father. The boy was left to loiter about in the town where they used to live. He moved around building sites and his life became very difficult.

He found life particularly hard as he did not know his roots. He did not know any of his relatives, not even an aunt or uncle from his mother’s side. It upset him and he started stealing as his means of survival. He stayed in the same neighbourhood but had no permanent home. His stepfather had also left him.

One of his neighbours, who used to know his mother and knew about his biological father, saw this boy suffering so she searched for his father and put them in touch. The boy was so happy that he finally belonged somewhere. He had a place to call home. However, his father had another family and was not willing to take care of him. Instead, Alex was left in the care of his father’s sister.

Forced to the street

Living with his aunt, he did not feel loved as he had no bond with his family members. His cousins bullied him, called him names and never involved him in family activities. This brought back bad memories of staying on his own. One evening, he decided it was better to live on the streets rather than stay somewhere he was not loved. He stole money from his aunt, ran away and began his new life on the streets of Jinja.

Finding his way back home

Whilst living on the street he met the S.A.L.V.E. team. After talking to them, he started attending the our Drop in Centre and then was referred to our Halfway Home. We traced his family and were able to provide a lot of counselling to his family to ensure that Alex was accepted and taken good care of.  He was resettled and stayed with his aunt and grandmother. After going through rehabilitation, he had changed a lot and was doing better.

S.A.L.V.E. has a Briquettes Social Enterprise program, which he was asked to get involved in which Alex is now earning money from. There is ongoing counselling and follow-ups to ensure that Alex remains happy and settled at home.

*names are changed in line with our Child Protection Policy

Lots of honeycomb briquettes lined up
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