Saturday, November 2, 2013

UGANDA :: Welcoming Jackie into the Shelter

Update from Missy, Women’s Advocacy Coordinator and Director, Refuge and Hope International - Uganda

Recently, we welcomed Jackie into the shelter. Jackie is a fifteen-year-old girl from the Democratic Republic of Congo. At the age of seven, she woke up one evening to find her father murdered and her mother and siblings missing. Rebel soldiers had ransacked their home and she was the only person remaining. Margaret, A neighbor who was fleeing to Uganda invited Jackie to come with her and her family. Unfortunately, Jackie was not treated as a child in the home, but immediately forced to work inside of the home. While the woman’s other children attended school, Jackie was forced to work from morning to night- cooking and cleaning for the woman and her family. Meanwhile, she deeply missed her family and dreamed of being in school, like other children her age.

When Jackie turned 14, the family moved next to a bar. Within the first few weeks of the family’s move, Margaret pressured Jackie to prostitute herself at the bar in order to earn her keep within their home. Jackie refused. She was beaten, forced to sleep outside and food was withheld. Over the next few months, Margaret continued to do these things in order to pressure Jackie. She refused.
One morning, Jackie woke up to find that she was alone in the house. Margaret and her family abandoned her. Within a few hours the landlord came to collect rent and immediately threw Jackie out of the house. At the age of 15, she was homeless and without a place to go. In Kampala, the trafficking and exploitation of young refugee girls like Jackie is all too common.
Tonight, however, Jackie is sleeping soundly in a safe and loving environment. She is getting the counseling, education, vocational training and housing that she needs. Additionally, thanks to Red Thread's partnership with Refuge and Hope Int’l, Jackie is able to access desperately needed medical care which she has not been able to access since leaving her country in 2006. This medical care is a pivotal part of her healing and empowerment. 
Thank you, Red Thread Promise for your partnership in assisting girls like Jackie within our community who have experienced violence and exploitation. Your support is making a BIG difference in their lives!   

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