15-year-old Peter lives with his father and stepmother in a town in the Eastern Region of Uganda. When he was 13 years old, Peter joined a bad peer group which influenced him to steal from others. Not long after meeting with them did he start to steal from his parents as well.
One day when Peter was on his way to school, he stole a doll from one of his neighbours and hid it in a banana plantation. The matter was reported to the school administration and when asked, Peter denied having stolen any item. In the evening, the neighbours decided to talk to his parents about the theft. Peter´s father punished him. He felt so hurt that he made the ultimate decision to run away to the streets where he stayed for one and a half years.
Being on the streets exposed him to many risks including drug abuse, peer influence, recruitment into criminal activities, child trafficking and even exploitation. Peter had to start collecting plastic bottles, boxes and scrap to earn money to buy food. He would also sometimes wash plates for restaurant owners in one of the slums in Kampala in exchange for leftover food from customers.
Peter was one of 202 street connected boys rescued through a mass rescue outreach programme conducted by TdH NL and Dwelling Places in partnership with Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development and like-minded CSOs under the CRANE Network. This was a partnership formed to provide holistic support services to children who had been left on the streets during the first lockdown in Uganda that was declared in March 2020 to minimize the spread of Coronavirus.
Peter was rescued from the streets of Kampala and rehabilitated. He was then reintegrated with his family in June 2020. Since then, he has continued to receive psychosocial support and counselling on his stealing habits during regular follow-ups conducted to monitor his well-being.
Peter´s behaviour has greatly changed for the better. When asked about his son, his father said, “Peter has changed. He has settled in well with the family and he no longer misbehaves with the bad habits that he had before. We even work together on the farm and he also supports me with selling shop items.” As for 15-year-old Peter, he says, ¨I am happy to be home.¨ As for his future aspirations, Peter cheerfully said, “I want to be a runner in the future and join the national athletic team so I can win gold like Kiprotich!”