Meet Jane. Now 16 years old, she is a well-spoken, mature, confident young woman in secondary school who dreams of being an engineer someday. A decade ago, her life looked like it was going in a very different direction.
Her father had died and her mother was an alcoholic with 4 young children – one of which had a severe mental disability. Living all together in a tiny one-room mud house, the children were left to fend for themselves, getting leftover food from neighbors on good days. Hands for Hope came across Esther, Jane’s older, mentally-disabled sister when she was picking through a garbage pile in search of food. Upon investigating, they discovered the rest of the children were living in squalor, starving and extremely vulnerable to the dangers of Namuwongo slum. When their mother was drunk, she would often beat or even burn them.
Hands for Hope decided to sponsor all of the children into their program and because the home environment was so unstable, they were eventually enrolled in boarding schools when they were old enough. HfH also attempted to help Marie, Jane’s mother, with her addiction by sending her to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings where she would improve for a while before falling off the wagon again. When asked about her mother, Jane gets choked up – she doesn’t blame her mother for her addiction and says that the stress of surviving in the slum causes her to fall back into drinking. It’s clear Jane still really loves her mother, even if she is unable provide for her and her siblings.
Unfortunately, although the younger three children were thriving in boarding school, during one of the school holidays, Jane’s mentally disabled older sister, Esther, was gang raped and became pregnant. The police did get involved, but because she was unable to clearly speak about what happened to her, no one was ever prosecuted. Thankfully, an extremely generous external sponsor stepped in to provide housing and full-time care for Esther and her baby far from the dangers of the slum.
For nearly 10 years, Jane and her two younger siblings, Vincent and Eve, have been supported by the generosity of their Hands for Hope sponsors. Jane says her favorite school subjects are physics, chemistry and history and she hopes to be a building engineer someday. She’s also a talented singer and dreams of becoming a gospel artist as well. She says if it wasn’t for Hands for Hope she would probably already be a prostitute and her brother would be scouring the slum for scrap to sell because they would have no other means to survive. They would have no education and no future. Instead, a bright smile appears on her face when she tells me she’s “confident that she will finish school and excel in life.” She says “she will be forever grateful and thanks Hands for Hope for standing for those families that can’t support themselves.”
Your donation of £45 / month could help support a girl like Jane to attend boarding school.
Note: Names have been changed to protect the children’s identities.