Richard spent much of his teenage years in a camp, surrounded by death and disease and fighting for water, food and shelter. Despite a harrowing start in life he is now flourishing as a builder, painter and budding entrepreneur.
Abducted for nine months by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) when he was just 12 and subsequently forced to endure five years in an Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDP) camp, Richard’s teenage years were spent fighting for water, food and shelter and witnessing horrific deaths. ‘People died of hunger, disease and conflict and the horror was beyond anyone’s imagination,’ says Richard. ‘When we returned home from the camp, we never recovered as a family from all we had seen and experienced.’
The LRA killed Richard’s father and also took his land, leaving Richard deeply worried for his future and uncertain what to do next. ‘Every day I would just sit around and wait for food given by the World Food Programme,’ he recalls.
Rescue and recovery
Richard is extremely grateful to Amigos for providing him with the skills for a better future and believes his time at Kira Farm has been instrumental in his mental recovery. At first he thought he would be joining an ordinary school and was surprised by the fact Kira was a development centre, a place that developed him physically, mentally and spiritually. ‘I learned about the importance of living with others in harmony, having good personal hygiene and having a positive attitude towards work,’ he explains.
When Richard arrived at Kira Farm he was tasked with farming his own individual plot - watching his crops grow gave him enormous satisfaction because he could see with his own eyes what he was accomplishing. Richard was apprehensive about returning home after his year on Kira Farm but ready to face the challenge. ‘I knew I was going back to the brokenness I’d left the year before,’ he says. ‘However this time I was happy because with the help of God, I was in a position to rebuild the brokenness not only in my family, but in those around me.’
Richard got a building job with a company called Multiplex and was paid 45,000 shillings (£10) every three days. From there he managed to secure some painting work and now he also sells piglets and grows ginger. He expects a profit of 5 million shillings (£1,111) from his ginger after one year.
‘My transformation has attracted a lot of attention from my fellow youths, who used to see me as idle and lazy. I’m using this as an opportunity to help others who are in a similar situation to me before coming to Kira Farm. Thank you God for Amigos for changing my work attitude as I am no longer the person I was.’
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)