Nelson was just 15 years old when his mother died from a heart condition, leaving Nelson and his brothers bereft. The family suffered immensely from her loss, their home was rundown and without a mother to care for them their clothes were torn and muddy. There was no one to keep the house clean and the children had to learn to cook and clean for themselves.
Nelson’s father turned to alcohol so Nelson gave up school to look after his siblings. Before long, depressed by the sad family situation, Nelson also started drinking.
‘Whenever my father passed out from heavy drinking I would take the chance to drink anything that was left – in the end I became addicted too,’ explains Nelson. ‘I even began stealing the little food we had in our garden so that I could buy my own alcohol.’
Tragically Nelson’s alcoholism made life even worse for his little brothers and sisters, as they gradually lost their big brother to drinking.
A chance to change
‘When I heard about an opportunity to join Kira Farm I was interested because I thought with all that vocational training I would be able to make good money to buy expensive alcohol,’ explains Nelson.
Kira Farm wasn’t what Nelson was expecting. ‘Being on Kira changed every aspect of my life. The training helped me grow, the mentoring gave me a new perspective on life, and I began to see that I didn’t need a bottle of alcohol, I needed Christ,’ he says. ‘Spending time with other young people who had bigger problems than mine helped me to stop feeling sorry for myself and start healing from the death of my mother.’
The training – both vocational and business – gave Nelson the hope that he could make money and and improve his family’s standard of living.
‘I left Kira a changed person, with a positive attitude,’ Nelson smiles. ‘That was six months ago and ever since then my life has been getting better.
‘As a family we own 30 acres of land but because my father was always drunk his brothers took most of the land, leaving us with just a small plot.
‘With my improved self-esteem I had the courage to face my uncles and claim the land that belonged to us. They were all shocked that the son of a drunk had the courage to ask them for land. They thought I was under the influence of drugs!
Nelson’s uncle gave him three acres, and he shocked them all by promptly farming two acres and planting trees on the third acre.
‘While I was at Kira Farm a former trainee called Maurice visited the farm and shared his story of success. He told us he’d built a house for an old lady in his village and that it helped market his new construction skills to the rest of the village.
‘I knew I needed to do the same, there was no point telling people I knew how to build houses because no one would believe me. They only knew me as a useless drunk boy,’ says Nelson. ‘Following Maurice’s example I built a house for a very poor family in my village and by the end of the project everyone was talking about me. Since then I haven’t looked back.
‘I am so busy with construction contracts that I’ve had to call on some of my fellow trainees to come and help. I have so much construction work I am too busy to farm, but we still need food so I have employed four young people to help me with planting on my new land.
‘Taking care of my family is a huge responsibility - buying soap, sugar and also food when there isn’t enough in the garden. Despite this I have been able to open up a bank account and I am saving at least £13 a week – before I went to Kira I didn’t have a shilling in my pocket.
Nelson hasn’t drunk any alcohol since he returned home and is helping his father to stop drinking.
‘In the future I plan to establish a building company, which will also include a carpentry workshop, so I can employ other young people in the area and increase my income. I have already started buying tools in preparation.
‘I am so thankful to Amigos for helping me grow into a responsible person and for saving me from drinking which would have broken our family.’
Would you like to support a young person to learn skills to lift their family out of poverty? For £5.00 a month you can help someone like Nelson. Find out more
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)