This is the story of Ronald* told in his own words.
“You cannot imagine the road that life can take you down. Even at a young, tender age you can be swept up by something that you know is leading you astray. My name is Ronald and I am fourteen years old. I was nine years old when my father passed away and left me with my mother in the village. After my father’s death, my mother was unable to pay my school fees so I left school at an early age. I stayed in the village with my mother until I was eleven when I realised that my mum was unable to take care of me. I started loitering around the village trying to figure out what to do and what to eat. Day by day life was getting harder for me and that is when I made a friend who told me about a place where I could find work. I welcomed the idea and asked him how soon we could leave but he told me that he would tell me when the time came.
I informed my mother about the idea but since she had no idea where I was going, she prohibited me from leaving. She told me that I should stay with her and work together but I was so desperate to go to a big town and work hard to make sure that I changed mine and my mother’s lives.
So, I decided to leave home and join my friend who was going to Jinja. Upon arrival, I discovered that this boy had brought me to the town to live on the street, which was fine for him since he was used to it.
At first he told me that we would look for plastic bottles and scrap metal and I welcomed the idea but after three days I discovered that he was starting to instruct me to take people’s belongings. Thereafter, I tried to think of ways to leave him and that is when I found a boy who told me about the S.A.L.V.E. Drop in Centre in Jinja city. I went and explained my problems to them and thankfully the uncles and aunts at the centre were very kind and loving and they listened to me. They took me to the S.A.L.V.E. residential site. They traced my mother who was very happy to see me back in one piece and she was very pleased with the work that S.A.L.V.E. does for young people like me!
How S.A.L.V.E. helped me
You can imagine the type of life that I would have led if there weren’t people like those at S.A.L.V.E. to help young people who are misled by their peers. I want to thank the entire S.A.L.V.E. team and everyone who donates and works hard to ensure that children like me do not live on streets!”
Thank you very much for everything you do for children living and working on the streets of Jinja city. Webale nyo!
*names are changed in line with our Child Protection Policy