Margaret sells crafts to keep her stepdaughters in school

Margaret is a stepmother to two of the girls currently sponsored by Hope for Life (HFL). We asked her to share her dreams for the girls and how she has managed to keep them in school.

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1. How long have you lived in Katanga slum?
20 years

2. How did you come to stay in Katanga?
I first came to Katanga to stay with my auntie and sister who were already living here. Then my auntie gave me this room to live in and I haven’t left since then.

3. How do you manage to keep your step-daughters in school?
HFL pays the school fees and I buy all the school requirements.

Margaret showing off some of her craft work.

Margaret showing off some of her craft work.

 4. How did HFL start sponsoring your stepdaughters?
After the death of their mother (the stepdaughters), I asked my husband (their father) to bring them here so we can live together. At the time, HFL had just started its catch-up school. I asked HFL to admit the girls and they did.

After about 6 months, teacher Daisy went and got them places at Buganda Road Primary School. HFL also bought them their first school uniforms and shoes. 

5. What do you do to get the money for your daughter’s school requirements?
I make crafts—mats and hand bags which I sell for UGX 30,000 ($8) and UGX 15,000 ($4) respectively.

 6. What dreams do you have for your stepdaughters?
I want to see them study up to university. And I am prepared to support them all the way.

7. What pleases you most about your stepdaughters?
They are hardworking.

Margaret and her stepdaughters.

Margaret and her stepdaughters.

I don’t want my children to suffer like I did

Robert is a father to two of our sponsored children. He is an active member of Katanga Community and served on the previous Local Council as the officer in charge of hygiene. He also represents the parents in all Hope for Life (HFL) staff meetings. We caught up with him and asked him what motivates him to keep being the loving father he is to his children.

1. How long have you lived in Katanga slum?
I have lived in Katanga for 21 years. I could say I have lived my whole life here because I found a wife in this place and all our 5 children have been produced here.

Robert with Sandra and John

Robert with Sandra and John

 2. How did you come to start staying in Katanga?
I came to Katanga to find a life better than what I had back in my father’s home in Fort Portal district. After my mother left our father, my father got another wife who made life unpleasant.  So I sold my goat and chicken and managed to raise enough money to bring me to Kampala and off I went.

When I got to Kampala, the friends I found brought me to Katanga and I haven’t left this place since then. 

3. When did come to know about Hope for Life?
My children—Sandra and John—were among the first to be registered with HFL back then when HFL did not even have an office building. My children were among the pioneers of the catch-up class program and HFL has supported their education to date.

 4. How has HFL supported your children’s education?
HFL has provided and continues to provide school fees for two of my children—Sandra (primary six) and John (primary one).

John and Sandra

5. What is your occupation?
I have contacts of people who ask me to buy for them things here in Kampala and then send them over to them on a bus. And I am usually paid by commission depending on how much the total purchase amount was.

6.  Where do you derive the strength to keep taking care of your children?
There are many challenges but what keeps me going is I do not want them to go through what I went through when our mother left us. I want my children to grow up with both their parents because that is the only way they can became the productive people I want them to become.

7.  And what do you want your children to become in future?
I just want them to be productive people. I cannot wish anything specific for them because I may have my own wishes but God has the final say on the future of their lives.

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How Linnet's life changed for the better in four years

There is a story, often a long story, behind every graduation. And Linnet's graduation was no exception. 

In 2014, Linnet, who at the time was already a mother of two, lived in Katanga close to our (Hope for Life) office. As a young mother, life was tough for her. The father of her children was not able to contribute much to the family, who lived in a single roomed home, which flooded each time it rained. There was nowhere dry to lay and so the family often got wet whilst sleeping; not a suitable environment to bring up children. Linnet often struggled at home being with a partner who was not supportive, unfaithful and who later became abusive.

GCP--hair dressing

When Linnet felt she couldn’t continue with life as it was, she approached Hope for Life (HFL) and asked to join our inhouse vocational training program and study hairdressing. Linnet was desperate to acquire a skill that would enable her take care of her family and avoid being dependent on her husband. 

Linnet (second from right) at her graduation

Linnet (second from right) at her graduation

HFL awakened the hope Linnet had lost and greatly boosted her self-esteem, particularly after counselling and support from Daisy, one of our staff. In 2015, because Linnet was a very committed and actively involved in her hairdressing class, HFL sponsored her to study cosmetology at YMCA Comprehensive Institute in Kampala, and in 2016, we celebrated with her as she graduated with a certificate in cosmetology. 

Linnet’s story doesn’t end with her graduation though. Our vision is to see families that are self-sufficient and free from poverty.  

Today (2019), Linnet has moved out of Katanga, away from the father of her children and works at a beauty salon, where she has worked since finishing her studies. She has her own clients and so works six days a week to earn as much as possible for herself and a better future for her children. 

 When we met with Linnet again recently, it was amazing to see a young woman (25 years old), full of confidence in her ability as a hairdresser, and hear her speak positively about her future. When we asked if life was good now, we were shocked to not hear her reply with a resounding yes. She could only muster, ‘life is fair’. When we pushed and asked, ‘Why only fair? Aren’t you happy to be earning a self-sufficient income?’, she replied, ‘I can’t say it is good because [the reality is] you can be good in the morning but by evening you can be mourning’.

Linnet at salon

After this sobering comment, Linnet was quick to explain how deeply appreciative she is of the support she has received from Hope for Life over the past 5 years and she extended a huge thank you to all the supporters of Hope for Life.  

Linnet was not supported by a single sponsor but instead supported with the surplus we receive from each person sponsoring a child. Thank you to the 50 plus sponsors who have made it possible for Linnet to be earning that self-sufficient income, living free from both poverty and harmful relationships.

Linnet

We are looking for more sponsors for children and young adults. If you want to empower and equip individuals and families to earn a self-sufficient income then get in contact to find out more information. 

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