'You think there is no way out...'
When you support Awamu, one small act of kindness can spread change throughout the whole community.
Hajara’s story is not an easy one to read but sadly its not uncommon vulnerable girls Bwaise. In the communities we work poverty and exploitation are rife, young people take huge risks with little in return.
But Hajara explains how your support for Awamu gives vulnerable women and girls the chance to take back control of their lives…
‘I’m Michala Hajara, I want to share my story with you. I stopped my education in P3 (around 7 years old) when my father died. We came to Bwaise (in Kampala) when I was 13 years old. This is when I started working.
We didn’t have enough money for food, rent school fees for my younger brothers and sisters.
My mother started selling beer at our home but it wasn’t enough. My siblings were hungry, so I started to sell myself.
Men used to come to our home to buy beer and when they were drunk they always tried have sex with me. I remember the first time it happened, I was so scared.
At 16 years I got pregnant with daughter. I went on sleeping with men when I was pregnant because I had to take care of my family.
Most men don’t want to use condoms and when you make them they use a lot of force and it bursts. I stopped caring if I lived or I died, I used to drink alcohol or use petrol, we would put fuel on a sponge or rag and inhale. Then it enters your the brain and you feel free for a moment.
When you don’t have money for rent the landlord will chase you out. When this happened, I would take the children in to a charcoal shelters to sleep and have to leave them their so I could try and earn some money.
I felt so bad. You get stuck in this situation and think there is no way out.
But through Awamu I learnt something new. They taught me how to weave sweaters and sew. The first day I attended the class I was so happy. I knew nothing, not even how to handle the machine but I was so eager.
Then, I was so shocked, they chose me to teach others. I think it was because I had so much love for what I was doing.
Now I have a job with another organisation, I teach other young women who have been drawn into sex work. My job is to help them change their lives!
In three years I have trained more than 95 girls. I love it because it is also where I came from. know what they are going through because it happened to me.
Life has really changed for me because of Awamu. I now earn enough to give my family food, pay the rent and I can buy clothes for my children, not like when I used to have to beg people for shelter.
My children love going to school. With gods help I’ll make my children’s dreams will come true.
I don’t think I would still be alive if life had carried on like it was so I want to thank you from my heart.’
Thank you to everyone who has supported us to make this possible. We believe we can achieve anything when we all work together!
This #GivingTuesday please make a donation to help us train more women like Hajara.
Its quick and simple to make a donation and it costs just £85 to provide skills and a small loan to start business for a vulnerable woman.
A gift that could help to change her life, her family’s and, as Haraja has shown, the lives of other women and girls in her community.