The word hope is written with a heart for the O

Living On False Hope

Miremba* is a 16-year-old girl whose mother passed away when she was 4 years. She grew up with different aunties because her father was an alcoholic who could not take care of her and her siblings. He would often become violent. Unfortunately, Miremba was also mistreated by one of her aunts who refused to buy her clothes, sanitary items or pay for her school fees. Despite this she took care of her aunt’s children and did all their chores, however one day she could not cope with the mistreatment any longer and ran away to the streets of  Jinja.

Falsely accused

Her aunt found her and she was punished for running away and felt ashamed of herself. She tried hard at home, but her aunt’s husband accused her of stealing money and she was beaten harshly.  Because of these false accusations and continual beatings she felt forced to run away again. This time she found work as a maid and at first she was settled and happy. However her boss began treating her like a slave and did not pay Miremba for her hard work so she was forced to leave for the streets once again. She felt so frustrated and hopeless with her situation that she started taking drugs such as marijuana and sniffing ‘mafuta’ (aeroplane fuel) with the other street connected children.

Desperate measures

Eventually she turned to sex work and exotic dancing as a way of surviving. During this time she was raped by different men, drugged and dumped on the streets. Miremba started falling ill due to the inconsistent meals, drug misuse and poor sleeping conditions. She was found crying and cold by a woman who took her in, offered her work and initially appeared to want to help. Yet once again Miremba was let down and she was not paid a salary. She returned to the streets.

True hope

It was during one of our S.A.L.V.E. street walks that we met Miremba and, after explaining our role, she agreed to attend our girl’s Drug Rehabilitation Centre  at our residential site.  Here, she was well supported to detox from the drugs and had interventions such as counselling and education. Through home tracing we contacted her uncle who attended family counselling and Miremba was eventually resettled back home at her maternal aunt’s place. Miremba is now settling in well at home and looking forward to being able to return to school and thanks S.A.L.V.E. International for their help and support

*Name changed in line with our Child Protection Policy

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