This is a story about Afiya*, a single mother of 5 children, who had suffered a lot of hardship, lost hope and given up on life. She relayed her tragic tale to me whilst tears rolled down her cheeks, her face full of sorrow and confusion. It began when she was abandoned by her husband whilst her children were still very young and she had no one to turn to for help. Afiya was forced to roam the streets of Jinja taking on hard jobs such as looking for plastic bottles and metal to sell in order to survive. She would sometimes do other people’s laundry for a small wage which was just enough to feed her children and find shelter at night.
Revisiting old skills
Thankfully a good Samaritan lent a hand, took her and her children from the dusty streets and gave them a small mud house. However, even after this help, Afiya still had to work laboriously just to meet the basic necessities of life for her family such as food, medical care, shelter, clothes and education for her children.
Luckily, she had hair dressing skills which she learnt in her youth, so she eventually decided to take it on as a business. Afiya initially concentrated on finding customers and over time rented a small saloon, but they had no equipment and paying the rent was difficult. Even though she had started this business, life was still hard and she couldn’t always put food on the table and provide for her family.
Luck lends a hand
Among her 5 children, Afiya has a daughter called Florence* who is energetic and motivated; she would go to the streets during the days looking for scrap to pick up and sell after helping her mother with housework. She has always been helpful in contributing to the family’s welfare by doing tasks for community members in return for a small wage.
One day as she was talking with her neighbours, Florence heard about the S.A.L.V.E. International’s Girls Drop In Centre based in their area and began attending the weekly sessions. Through Florence’s attendance, Afiya was identified as suitable for the Single Mother’s Business Programme that was then recruiting new participants.
Now, with a joyful heart, Afiya is hopeful and thanks S.A.L.V.E. International for the love and care they have shown for her and her family.
This golden opportunity given to her by S.A.L.V.E. International began with family assessments, training and business startup advice. The programme brought back Afiya’s smile that had been long forgotten and she felt positive and hopeful, a feeling she had never had before. With the capital she was given by S.A.L.V.E. International through the community and business department, she was able to purchase equipment for her hairdressing saloon.
Her day-to-day business grew and the management lessons given by staff at S.A.L.V.E. encouraged and enabled her to make more profits through her hard work. She is now happy that she can afford to feed and buy clothes for her children, pay rent in a better shelter and take her kids to school.
Mostly, Afiya is so happy that she does not have to roam the streets in bad weather, hungry and tired just to meet the family’s basic needs.
*Afiya and Florence’s names have been changed in line with our child protection policy.