|Changing The Story – From rejected & broken to redeemed & changed.
Elizabeth is a 17 year old girl who has been exploited in the sex industry.
l was taken away from my mother when I was 4 years old by my father. He told me that he was taking me to go and buy candy and to pierce my ears. He did all that. But, he eventually took me to an unknown place and left me there naked in a home until l was 11 years. It was at that age that l was able to escape. l think that my father took me there for ritual sacrifices for him to become wealthy.
After escaping from there, l met friends who knew the home where l escaped from well. They knew it wasn’t safe for me. I was grateful for their support. They asked me if I wanted to live with them. I did. These friends soon told me about a way that I can make money. They introduced me into the sex business. It was a way that I could survive and get some money for things that I needed. l became pregnant and I aborted the baby.
Becoming pregnant and having to abort a baby scared me. l decided that l should come back to my real home. I tried to look for my parents. Eventually, someone connected me to my mother. My mother rejected me and chased me away from her and home.
Out of frustration and with no where else to go, l joined other friends and I got involved in the sex business again. I didn’t know what else to do. l got pregnant again. I tried to abort the baby in vain. When the abortion failed, my friends rejected me. Life became unbearable. l was not working and had no where to go. l opted to take shelter at a hospital surviving on well wishers until l gave birth.
When l came to ILA Uganda, the first thing that brought peace back to my life was the medical checkup. It was one of the first things that we did. I was worried and scared at what the Doctors might find. The fact that l found myself HIV – negative after the number of men l had sex with was a huge burden off of me.
During the Empower Trauma Counseling Program I learnt so much. The session that we had about having a vision for our future – it was was my take home. The I Live Again Uganda staff reminded us that our children were our next future. The truth was, l hated my son so much and wanted to dump him anywhere. But now after finding new hope and thinking well about my future, l love my son so much! I am willing to build his future.
Right now, I want to remove the identity the community and people know about me. I want to show them that l am a changed Elizabeth. I also want be a respected woman. I want to develop the tailoring skills that l acquired from here for a brighter future for me and my son. People are already seeing the changes in me. l used to dress indecently and everyone in the community knew about what I did to make money. I Live Again Uganda gave us good clothes that were much more respectful. When I put them on, it was my first time to dress decently. Everyone was surprised that a sex worker like me could change.
*NOTE: Name’s and images have been changed to protect the identity of our beneficiaries.