Mother with baby carried on her back

The Struggles of a Single Mother

Natukunda* is one of the single mothers currently supported by S.A.L.V.E. International. She was born the oldest of five children from the Mugishu tribe. She was raised by her mother as her father worked away in Jinja. It was a difficult life as he would not return home for months at a time.

A difficult life

Natukunda’s mother became so fed up she decided to take all five children to their father and left them with him. Life was tough as their mother worked full time. Therefore Natukunda, then aged 12, had to give up school to look after her younger siblings, the youngest only 18 months old. Two years later, aged 14, she returned to school. However, she was older than the other children and was often laughed at and teased.

Natukunda tried to work hard and improve her studies, but she was still responsible for parenting her siblings after school. She found teenage life challenging and met a young man and became pregnant. She had no consistent care from her mother to advise and support her, and her boyfriend abandoned her, so she dropped out of school and had the baby. Natukunda was too young to be a mother and when her son was just nine months old, he became ill and sadly died.

Eventually, Natukunda fell in love and married and moved with her husband to Tororo. They had five children, two boys and three girls. Unfortunately, two of these children sadly died and whilst pregnant with their fifth child her husband passed away. She moved back to Jinja as a single mother and found daily life a struggle. Luckily her aunt moved her nearby and taught her some business skills. She started her own food business and with the little capital she made, she began to see some light.

She eventually remarried and had three more children. However, her new husband started behaving badly and having affairs which Natukunda found very hurtful. She, therefore, left him to concentrate on her children and began running her business solo, which was a huge strain as she couldn’t seem to make it profitable.

A new beginning

In order to survive, Natukunda sent some of her children to find scrap metal to sell, to add to her small income. This is how the social workers from S.A.L.V.E met them. They began by building relationships and then finding ways of helping them to get off the streets.

They told their mother about S.A.L.V.E and Natukunda was referred to the Single Mother’s Programme. Through this, she was supported to grow her food business and improve on her own skills in this area.  Natukunda and her family are excited and grateful for the help they have received from S.A.L.V.E.

Since then their life has never been the same again. She now has the money to take care of her family and no longer worries about what they will eat every day or if her children will have to work on the streets to survive. She is so happy and thanks S.A.L.V.E and all its supporters for changing their lives. The children feel happy and hopeful and are now even considering returning to school when they re-open.

*names are changed in line with our data protection policy

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