Jude lived with his siblings and his mother who ensured they were provided for, but this changed when she passed on. His father took responsibility of caring for the family. Despite the challenges, Jude did his KCPE exams, but never pursued secondary education and relocated to Mlolongo and ended up in an area where he was sexually exploited. Luckily, he was identified and supported through the Wezesha Vijana Project, and was provided psychosocial support, counselling and essential amenities.
Jude, 20 years old, hails from Masinga, Machakos County. He is the third born in a family of six. He lived with his mother and siblings. His mother worked as a casual labourer in people´s farms and households earning approximately €51.06 per month, while his father operated a clothes store business at Eastleigh market, Nairobi County, earning €85.10. His mother ensured that they were provided for, but sadly, this changed when she succumbed to asthma-related complications in 2015. Thereafter, his father took the full responsibility of taking care of the entire family and paying their school fees which really strained him. Oftentimes, they were out of school due to fees arrears. Despite the challenges, Jude sat for his KCPE exams in 2019 scoring 175 marks out of 500. He never pursued secondary education and relocated to Mlolongo immediately after he sat for his KCPE exams.
Jude was hosted by his uncle in Mlolongo in Madharau street, the red district area in Mlolongo town. They stayed in a single room that was used as the bedroom, sitting room and kitchen. Moreover, he shared a bed with his uncle. His uncle had a small food vending Kiosk which Jude would go to help sometimes without pay except, receive a plate of food in the evening. He would also fetch water for people and earn €1 to € 2 , as pocket money. His uncle however did not give him any financial support but he would always urge him to go out and look for work.
Jude lived in the middle of Madharau street where, sex workers paraded themselves in broad daylight looking for customers. He didn’t have many friends to socialise with, which made him to start walking around Madharau street to familiarise himself with the area. One day, as he was walking on the streets, an elderly female sex worker pulled him into her room and seduced him into having sex with her. He was in utter shock and never imagined that he would face such a situation as a young boy. Though terrified by the incident, Jude never shared his experience with anyone. Over time, he was exploited by multiple older women, between the ages of 35-50 years , who would occasionally give him between €0.5 to €1 that he used for personal upkeep, for over a period of one year (2021). Hopeless, uncertain of his future with no one to talk to, Jude´s sexual exploitation situation worsened. “At that point, I had no hope,” Jude explained.
A Nyumba Kumi member, who had been sensitised on sexual exploitation of children/youth, shared information on the Wezesha Vijana Project with his uncle who brought him to YSK offices for interviews and assessment in March 2022, which was later followed up with a home visit for additional assessment and verification. He was confirmed as a survivor of SEC, and was enrolled into the project. He underwent psychotherapy to address the issues he had, to value and love himself and understand that whatever happened to expose him to exploitation was not his fault. Moreover, he registered for a motor vehicle training course. Jude successfully completed his technical skills training as a motor vehicle mechanic. He sat for his NITA exams in December 2022. The results are anticipated to be out in March 2023. He is a beneficiary of a business startup kit where he was provided with a mechanical engineering tools box (Box spanners, cylinder head spanners, Ring spanners, Plug spanners, assorted screwdrivers, small car jerk, coil spring compressor, assorted pliers) worth €105.4 to aid him in his work. Currently, he is working as an intern with Kibogo Auto Garage and will finish his internship on 9th April 2023. During his internship period, he was facilitated with €43 to cushion his transport and meals costs. “Wezesha Vijana project came at the right moment, I have done so well for myself, I was thinking of the life I had in Madharau street and although I had started getting used to it, I am happy I am completely a changed person.”Jude said.
Jude doesn’t earn any income, since he is under internship. However, the manager has promised to secure a job for him after he completes his internship. He is now more confident in his work and believes that he will be able to get a good job and sustainable income. He is determined to hopefully open his own garage in the near future and train other children/youths who are interested in motor vehicle mechanics. Optimistic about his future, Jude said“The Wezesha Vijana Program has helped me a lot by empowering me with skills, I can now dream of a better future. I want to be an ambassador of change and encourage the youth to make a decent living.”