When Faiza was 8 years old, her father left the house as he normally did except only this time, he never returned. Bearing the brunt of the economic responsibility, Faiza´s mother began doing menial jobs to provide for her family. This meant that Faiza could not regularly attend school as she did before because she had to look after her two-year-old brother. Her mother´s hard work did not translate into sustainable income which prompted Faiza to feel the need to supplement her income by looking for a job when she was only 13 years old.
Bodaboda riders (bikers) sexually exploited Faiza in exchange for money. ¨I could now afford sanitary towels without necessarily asking my mother.¨ Faiza explained. She developed a sexual relationship with a 23-year-old bodaboda rider and sadly after she fell pregnant and the man completely disowned her. Even though the case was reported to the Department of Children Services (DCS) by Faiza´s mother and an arrest warrant was issued, the case could not proceed as expected. This is because Faiza´s mother had bought a piece of land from the perpetrator and had outstanding arrears.
Faiza faced a lot of complications during her pregnancy. She endured labour for 15 hours and after giving birth through cesarean section, her baby died instantly. She suffered third-degree perineal trauma, postpartum incontinence, and systemic infections in the process, majorly attributed to prolonged labour. She had to stay in the hospital for two months because her mother could not settle the hospital bill. A priest from the local church intervened for Faiza to be discharged. Immediately after, Faiza developed a serious condition known as Urinary Tract Fistula, and could not hold urine. This forced her to sleep in a polythene bag. Her social life was greatly affected. ¨ I was so embarrassed and could neither mingle with my friends nor leave our compound. I did not know what was happening to me.¨ Faiza recalls.
Faiza´s case was identified by their immediate neighbour. He is a village elder and had participated in a child protection training organized by Joining Forces Alliance. During community feedback, the elder reported about Faiza´s case. After a home visit, the case prompted consultations and referrals to different child protection service providers and good samaritans. Thankfully, in May 2021, Faiza underwent successful corrective surgery after one of the good samaritans attached to the Hope Children Foundation decided to help her.
Now back in school, 15-year-old Faiza says her life has changed tremendously. ¨I feel confident and happy. I can stand before people without any fear or shame. It is a dream come true. Thank everyone, most importantly, my mother, and the good samaritan who gave me hope and brought meaning to my life. I thought I had come to the end of my life when I was suffering alone in the house.¨ Faiza aspires to be a doctor so that she can prevent girls from undergoing what she went through.