This story is about Melody, a 14-year old girl. Melody was living with her mother, but was eventually forced to leave home due to their poor living conditions. At home, there was often no food and she would go hungry. This was one of the main reasons that she felt forced to leave home for a life on the streets. Melody had only been to school up to the sixth year of primary. Unfortunately, her mother couldn’t fully pay for her school fees, as her father had recently disappeared. Nobody knew where he had gone or where he was now living, and her mother struggled to take care of her three children by herself.
Needless to say, the departure of Melody’s father marked the start of a hard life for everyone in their family. The little money Melody’s mother had was soon gone, and the family started living a life of extreme poverty. Due to the lack of food and her mum’s inability to provide for the basic needs of her children, Melody felt so desperate that she left home for the streets. When Melody left, she was influenced by friends to go to Jinja. When she reached Jinja with her friends, they all went to Masese where they could find affordable accommodation. However, life on the street was not easy, and she rarely had enough to eat. Her friends soon started to engage in prostitution, and she was often left home alone.
Trying to ease the pain of a life on the streets
The three girls Melody lived with were all significantly older than her. She was encouraged to start taking drugs since all her friends were addicted to drugs. They would take these drugs to relax and pass time, allowing Melody to briefly forget about her problems. Taking drugs became her crutch during that hard time. One day, some people came looking for children to be employed as maids, strippers or bar attendants. All three of her friends accepted and they were all taken away. However, Melody refused to join them, as she still held out hope that someone would come to save her and change her life for the better.
Entering recovery with the help of S.A.L.V.E.
Without her friends, Melody’s situation became increasingly desperate. As she walked through Jinja, she noticed there was a girl’s Drop in Centre, and she asked the staff for help. They welcomed her, and the next day she began to receive counselling sessions so that she could be helped. Melody spoke to several members of staff about her condition and circumstances, and she was admitted to the S.A.L.V.E. Drug Rehabilitation Centre. She is now very happy and is on her road to making a full recovery. With the help she has received, she hopes to one day realise her dream of becoming a nurse, so that she too can help others get back on their feet.
*names are changed in line with our Child Protection Policy