Jim* is a boy of 16 years, born in Iganga town. His parents are both alive but they divorced when he was still young and his father remarried. To begin with, he had a good relationship with his step mother, but as time went by, she started to mistreat him and even told him to stop going to school as there was no money for his tuition.
He tried to go to school anyway, but was chased back home because he had not paid the fees. Even the neighbours who he thought would be able to help him started talking ill of him, and abusing him. Feeling lost, Jim decided to go and look for his mother.
Jim was successful in finding his mother, and stayed with her for 3 months. But when he asked her to give him school fees, she did not have any and she also sent him away. Jim said, ”I was stranded and didn’t know what to do. I wasn’t introduced to any relatives, I only knew my biological parents, and when they separated life became difficult. I cried very much but no one could comfort me, because of what I was going though, I eventually decided to go to the streets and lived there for one month.”
Whilst on the streets, Jim met one of the S.A.L.V.E. staff during their street outreach programme. He told his story to them, and he was directed to the drop in centre. Here, he received counselling, a chance to wash his clothes and regular meals – something difficult to secure on the streets. Afterwards, they brought him to the S.A.L.V.E. Halfway Home for more counselling and rehabilitation. They helped him to create an exit plan, explaining that they would help him to reintegrate with his relatives, and stay in touch for further support when needed.
He wasn’t convinced that returning to live with his relatives was the best option, so he spent only one month staying at the S.A.L.V.E. Half way Home, and then ran back to the street. S.A.L.V.E staff doing street outreach never gave up on him, they received him again and continuously counselled him.
Jim’s passion was education, eventually with enough patience and support, he made up his mind and was able to tell one of the staff to take him back home to his father so that he could go back to school. Staff helped to counsel the family to help them to overcome their differences and be able to stay together happily. He was taken back home, and back to school and now he is serious about his studies.
During his school holidays, he was selected by S.A.L.V.E for an internship at East African Playgrounds, a local partner charity. They taught him how to weld in his two months with them, and recently, he received the award for completion. In January, he also received his Primary Leaving exam results. He was very excited that he passed with top marks! He promised to work hard in secondary level and keep up his hard work.
Despite the challenges he has gone through in life, he has belief that he can make it in the future. He is determined and has great hope that he will succeed no matter what comes his way, and he knows he has S.A.L.V.E. to support him.
He was also happy to get the chance to meet with his educational sponsor at the 10 year birthday party of S.A.L.V.E. We have so many more children who want to have a brighter future through education rather than live on the streets. Could you help us to sponsor one of them? See who is waiting for sponsorship here. Webale nyo (thank you so much)
*Jim’s name has been changed in this public forum in line with our child protection policy