Becky* is 16 and lives in one of the biggest slums in Kampala. We met Becky last year when she was living with her mother and younger sister. Becky’s father had abandoned the family and they didn’t know his whereabouts – this happens a lot in the slums.
Becky’s mother is a street vendor, selling bananas, simple things just to make a living. At the beginning of last year she didn’t have any money to take care of Becky or her younger sister. So, with little money, Becky’s mother felt that all she could do was to ask Becky to seduce men. Her intention was for Becky to start selling her body and looking for a man to take care of her family.
Becky cared deeply for her mother and wanted to earn money for her family, but she wasn’t sure that she wanted to marry the boy her mother had proposed. Becky felt torn: “My mum has proposed I marry this boy and he will provide money for the education, will pay the dowry, and help to support my family.”
Luckily, Becky had just started attending our Kids Club Kampala activities in her community and she told us what was happening at home. It was very stressful for Becky and we were keen to help her. We listened to Becky and gave her counselling, and we also went and spoke to her mother.
When Becky’s mother saw us coming to speak to her, she was frightened, because she knew that she could be reported to the police or the authorities. She was shaking but calmed down as we spoke. We told her that Becky had shared her story with us and that we were there not to report her but to help.
We talked to her; she cried. We told her we would do what we could to help, and we helped her to see that what she was doing was wrong. She was tempted because life was very hard for her – she even told us that she had thought of committing suicide.
We were determined to support Becky and her mother. We have since met her children regularly, helping them with school and providing Becky’s mother with some basic requirements when we can. We also encouraged Becky’s mother to pursue some income generating projects.
We were also really lucky to be able to find a wonderful Child Sponsor for Becky, meaning that she is now back in school. When she finishes, she wants to be a nurse! She told us: “Thank you Kids Club Kampala. You don’t know how happy I am to continue my education and to commit to a bright future”.
There are many young girls just like Becky living in Kampala’s slums who can be tempted or coerced into getting married young or making unwise choices with men because of poverty. Our School Sponsorship programme is helping to keep girls in school and preventing them from early marriages. We need your help to give more girls a bright future and to help them break the cycle of poverty through education. If you would like to Sponsor a Child with us, or become a Girl’s Champion, please get in touch.