The bad, the ugly and the good

My name is Ibrahim* and this is the story of my journey to the streets of Jinja. It began when my friend who had lived there before suggested we move to the city for a better life. When we arrived initially the city felt new and exciting and I thought that everything would be good.

However after a few days my friend started ignoring me and eventually left me for some other boys he had previously known in the city. As I was a new street connected child I did not know how to survive and felt worried and alone.

The bad and the ugly

I experienced the bad and ugly conditions of the streets. Every day was increasingly difficult and I experienced hardships that I had never done before. Every person looked out for themselves so I felt isolated and often though about throwing myself in the lake, but thinking about my mother stopped me.

I began collecting paper boxes to sell for money for food, however sometimes I was unable to collect any and became so hungry that I resorted to stealing to survive. I also started drinking alcohol and sniffing ‘mafuta’ (airplane fuel). At that time I do not know the negative effects of the drugs and thought they were just the trend on the streets. However they made me feel like a zombie and careless about my own life, and I started taking more risks. I would steal and fight with the gangs on the streets.

The good

One morning my life changed forever. I was woken by a gang who was chasing a boy, and I began to run too. In the chaos they ganged up on me, badly beat me and I was hit by a brick on the forehead. I blacked out and woke up in a hospital with a very painful headache. I was surprised to be in hospital and was told by the nurse that I was brought in by a policeman and staff from S.A.L.V.E. International. Since the pain was too much I went to sleep and spent a few day recovering in hospital. When I was discharged I was taken to S.A.L.V.E.’s residential site and underwent treatment at their Drug Rehabilitation Centre.

The future

At first I was wary and fearful as I was used to people not caring about me. I would cry all night and cry out in pain, but the staff at S.A.L.V.E. helped and supported me and I had wonderful treatment and care. My injuries have now healed and I have settled with other children in the Centre and am waiting to go for a home visit to see my family. Thanks to S.A.L.V.E. International for the time, care, medication, counselling and food. Please continue spreading the love and support to all the children in the world.

*Name changed in line with our Child Protection Policy

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