Time is a key factor to positive change. It’s not good to give up until it’s done.
This is the story about a boy called David* who was 8 when he went to live on the streets of Jinja, Uganda. This is his story about not giving up and how, over time, he managed to turn his life around.
David’s home life
David’s parents divorced when he was 3 years old. David started staying with the father who was not concerned with parenting him. He used to take alcohol and sometimes never came back home, so at the age of 3 years David would stay in their home alone.
David was not given chance to go to school and when he tried visiting his paternal uncle who liked him, the father never wanted him to be there. There were arguments in the family and, in this environment, David decided to leave home at just 8 years old after being convinced by a friend that street life was better than where he was and how he was suffering.
Descent into drug abuse
When he got to the streets he met friends who shared similar backgrounds to him and reasons for joining the streets. While on the street, David collected plastic bottles and scrap metal to earn a living. His new friends encouraged David to start smoking, taking alcohol, smoking marijuana and sniffing mafuta (aeroplane fuel). When he was taking these drugs they affected him in many ways. He started experiencing body weaknesses, losing weight, memory loss and many others.
Drug Rehabilitation lifeline
The S.A.L.V.E. International team encouraged David to join our Drug Rehabilitation programme. While in the SALVE Drug Rehabilitation centre, he was given time to react to positive change as he was being supported through counselling, life skills lessons to improve on his behaviours and coordination. Medically he was being attended to by the psychiatric nurse and as time went by, he was now a transforming and promising individual.
Home tracing and healing over time
As part of S.A.L.V.E.’s ethos to resettle children with their families where possible, we started to trace David’s mother and father.
He took us to the different relatives of his and we decided together on resettling him to his uncle.
While at his uncle’s place, we tried to help him in identifying his father but all in vain. However, we managed to identify the mother and they now have a good relationship.
Although he never went to school David wanted to do driving, welding and mechanics.
S.A.L.V.E. helped him to attain his dream; he trained in vocational studies and passed well. He is now a welder who also trains other internees who went to school. He, therefore, trains graduates at the workshop which makes his feel so happy.
Thanks to everyone for the great support towards the children that live and work on the streets. Your continued belief in us allows us to give these children the time and care that they need.
*names of children have been changed in line with our child protection policy