Sarah* was brought up by her mother after her father died when she was a baby. Early on they were forced to relocate from their home, due to the endless tribal wars and cattle rustlers in the area, to a place where they felt safer. Sarah’s mother was a farmer so she worked on other people’s land in order to pay for their needs and Sarah’s school fees. Sarah was very keen to learn and wanted to become a nurse in the future. The best school in the area was very far for Sarah to walk, and she was unable to afford boarding fees so they decided to move nearer a better school in Jinja city.
In the city, Sarah’s mother found a job with a company to pay for the schooling, and initially things were happy and settled. However her mother worked very long hours and Sarah ended up being left alone for long periods of time. Sarah started feeling bored and lonely so she decided to make new friends with the street connected children in her neighbourhood. Some of these children were misusing drugs such as ‘mafuta’ and marijuana and staying out all night. They began having a strong influence on Sarah. Sarah started using drugs, going out to clubs with her friends and stopped attending school.
Since Sarah’s mother was never home, it took her almost a year to learn that her daughter had started using drugs and was no longer going to school. She was so disappointed in Sarah and they began quarrelling every day until Sarah decided to leave home for good and went to live on the streets.
Challenges and hope
As a young girl on the streets, she faced a lot of challenges such as bullying from older children, attempted rape and struggling to find enough to eat. One day as she was collecting scrap to sell she met staff from S.A.L.V.E International who were on a Street Outreach walk. They told her about their Drug Rehabilitation Programme where she would have the opportunity to get healthy again and readdress her purpose and goals in life, and Sarah accepted this offer. She began attending their girl’s Drop in Centre and eventually stayed at the new girl’s Drug Rehabilitation Centre on S.A.L.V.E’s residential site.
Sarah has now spent three months at the Rehabilitation Centre and is detoxing from her drug misuse. She is currently awaiting reintegration with her family with S.A.L.V.E.’s help, to regain the trust which was lost a long time ago. She has prioritised her dream of becoming a nurse once more and with the support of S.A.L.V.E her future is now looking bright and hopeful.
*Name changed in line with our Child Protection Policy