Growing up Rolex (now 20 years old) and his siblings lived a better life than most. Their father was a much-loved and hardworking deputy headmaster at one of the biggest government primary schools in Lira.
One week after being promoted to headmaster, however, it’s believed he was poisoned by a jealous colleague and subsequently died.
Rolex’s father left behind some land and three lock up shops so the family could afford to live, but they suffered from a lack of authority. After his death their mother struggled to keep control of the family and two of Rolex’s siblings ended up marrying at a very young age, while another brother was sent to prison for theft. Rolex himself resorted to smoking and drinking and dropped out of school.
No longer respected
Rolex’s family was no longer respected in the village. ‘Our mother was always stressed and worried,’ recalls Rolex. ‘She would wish a million times over that she could bring our father back to life.’ Rolex would occasionally labour on building sites to get money for alcohol and cigarettes, but the pay he received was minimal. ‘When I heard about the opportunity to go to Kira Farm Development Centre I got so excited – I thought if I could improve my skills I would have more money for alcohol and expensive cigarettes.’
Rolex says that Kira Farm was a turning point in his life. ‘Although I joined with bad intentions I am so grateful it all worked out,’ he says. Rolex came to look on Kira Farm Manager, Joshua, as a father figure whilst there. ‘I would see my father in Uncle Joshua all the time, it felt like I was living with him again and it reminded me of the promises I’d made to my father about what I would do one day.’ Throughout the course of the year Rolex’s attitude towards life changed and he began to feel positive about his future.
Life changed radically for Rolex when he returned home. ‘I started obeying my mother and stopped smoking and drinking and hanging out with friends who were a bad influence,’ he explains. Rolex started working on a number of building sites, using the new construction skills he’d acquired at Kira, and within a few months he had made a huge sum of £124. ‘I told my mother I wanted to fulfil the promise I’d made to my father of becoming an accountant,’ he says. ‘She was so happy and promised to support me.’
Since then Rolex has gone back to school and is studying history, economics, literature and maths. He says his neighbours are surprised to see him putting on a school uniform. ‘Since then everyone we know who has wayward children has been asking me how they can send them to Kira!’
Thanks to the conflict resolution techniques Rolex learnt at Kira he managed to save the school from a strike that was going to occur owing to a dispute. He has since become highly respected. During the school holidays he uses his building skills to raise money for his school fees.
‘Thank you so much to Braunton School for making all of this possible,’ smiles Rolex. ‘I have turned my life around and I am now a good role model to my younger siblings.’
Amigos Worldwide is a registered Charity/NGO both in the UK and Uganda.
Amigos Worldwide, Registered in England, Company Number 6122350, Registered Charity Number 1119450
Registered Office 7A Beech Grove, Pilton, Barnstaple, Devon. EX31 1PZ
(Amigos International and Amigos are working names of Amigos Worldwide)