We first met Nafula* on the streets of Jinja. She caught our attention since she was new in the area, and we tried to find out why she had ended up on the streets and where she had come from.
Through many tears she told us her story. She was 15 years old, came from a neighbouring district and had not attended school for some time. Nafula’s father and mother had separated and Nafula and two of her sisters moved in with their father and stepmother whilst the others stayed with their mother.
One day, Nafula’s father heard a rumour that his two eldest daughters were pregnant which was soon confirmed to be true. He was so disappointed that he decided to take all of his daughters out of school, refusing to pay their school fees. All the family tried to persuade him to change his decision but unfortunately all their efforts were in vain.
One day, a visitor to the village saw Nafula and asked to take her on as a maid in exchange for money being sent home to the family, which they gladly welcomed. However life as a maid was not easy at all and she had a lot of work to do and was not allowed to rest. One day, whilst her boss was at work, she decided to run away to Jinja in hopes of getting a better job.
It was at this point she was found by S.A.L.V.E. International social workers. She was later resettled with her biological mother and grandmother and enrolled back into school. Her mother also completed S.A.L.V.E.’s Business Empowerment Programme and started selling second hand clothes so was able to pay the school fees.
Unfortunately Nafula became tempted again by the lure of life on the streets. Despite Nafula receiving counselling from S.A.L.V.E., her mum asked for her to be resettled back to the father and stepmother to help give Nafula a fresh start.
Hoping for a fresh start
A few weeks into this fresh start however, Nafula started going out without informing her stepmother. The S.A.L.V.E. team continued to follow up with her, providing her with counselling and talking to her stepmother about understanding Nafula’s background.
During one of our follow-ups, we discovered that Nafula was pregnant. Her father was devastated and told her to go and live with the father of the unborn baby, but the father’s family disapproved of Nafula and her history. We took Nafula back to her biological mother, who accepted her and started taking care of her during the pregnancy.
Nafula gave birth to a healthy baby girl and her mum supported them both. As an organisation, we refused to give up on Nafula. We had to look for other ways we could help her get back on her feet. She mentioned wanting to do a hairdressing course, so that one day she could run her own hair salon. We soon found a place where she could train and she learned very quickly.
After some time at the salon Nafula graduated. She was given a certificate and was ready to run her own salon. We rented her a small room and bought her some hairdressing items, so that she could take care of herself and her baby. Today, Nafula is very grateful for the love that we showed her, allowing her to become a wonderful, independent young woman.
*Name changed in line with our Child Protection Policy
Nafula and her baby