Joan grew up in an abusive environment. Her father was an alcoholic and whenever he got drunk he would physically attack Joan and her mother. On many occasions the pair had to sleep rough in the bush to avoid his violent rages. Eventually Joan’s mother divorced her father – he threatened to kill her if she took Joan, so the desperate mother was forced to leave the young girl behind.
Tired of life
Both Joan’s parents went on to re-marry new partners, but the brutality never stopped for Joan. At the age of 11 the young girl started looking for jobs to earn money for food and school fees, but things didn’t go to plan. ‘When I got a job as a housemaid my father would take away my salary of £7 a month for his drinking,’ she says. ‘I felt so tired of life, I would cry all the time. Joan’s stepmother felt sorry for the poor girl and helped Joan get back in touch with her mum.
Worried for her future
Although Joan was happy to move back in with her mother, she was still worried about her future. She had finished school in Year 6 - when she was seventeen years old - after repeating class after class. ‘I knew I wouldn’t be able to get a proper job with such a poor education,’ she says. ‘My stepfather was OK with me living in his house, but he wasn’t willing to pay for my school fees. However I am grateful to God that during this misery and worrying, I got the opportunity to join Kira Farm.’
Peace of mind
Joan will always be grateful for the time she spent at Kira Farm Development Centre. ‘Before my time at Kira I hated my father for all that I had gone through in life, but the more I hated him the more I failed to find peace,’ she says. ‘Through the discipleship training I was able to forgive my father and this gave me peace of mind to focus on what I wanted to achieve in life.’ Joan is also grateful that she was able to meet other young people on Kira who had endured more traumatic experiences than her. She stopped feeling sorry for herself and by the time she had finished training, she was hopeful she was going to have a better future.
‘I used to think I was a loser, but not anymore thanks to the new skills I learnt at Kira Farm,’ smiles Joan. As soon as she returned home the enterprising young woman started making chapatis, a skill she developed whilst on Kira as part of her business skills training. Within three months of being home she had made a profit of £26. ‘I used this money to stock materials for my tailoring business,’ she explains. ‘I now have two sources of income – the chapati and the tailoring business – and through these businesses I manage to save at least £6 a week.’
Today Joan is a confident and self-assured young woman. She is active in her church and leads some of the church programmes. She is passing on her skills and training a young girl in the local community in hairdressing . ‘I am helping at home with buying essentials and since I started doing this my relationship with my stepfather has improved a lot,’ she smiles. ‘I am happy now and never worry about my future.’
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)