Rose, who is 16 years old, currently resides in a brothel located on the outskirts of Kampala, Uganda. Before this, she grew up with her mother, siblings and grandmother in Central Uganda. After Rose´s father abandoned them, her mother became the breadwinner but unfortunately, her income could not sustain the family´s needs. As a result, Rose dropped out of school at the age of 14.
Rose's situation became even harder when she got pregnant at the age of 15. Her baby's father abandoned them forcing her to look for an alternative means to support herself and her newborn baby. In 2020, her mother´s friend promised Rose a well-paying job, only that it meant she would go with him to Kampala. Unfortunately, when they arrived there, the man sexually abused Rose then dumped her on the streets.
With no means of contacting her family and nowhere to go, Rose slept on the cold streets. Later on, she began sleeping in bars. Soon, Rose was introduced to sex work by a friend, who lived and worked in a brothel. She provided her with accommodation and she began working as a waitress in the brothel. Not long after this, men began exploiting her sexually.
Rose´s vulnerable situation did not make it any easier for her to quit and find other ways to get an income to support her two-year-old daughter and mother. She explained, ¨I used to sleep with several men to earn a living. Because I was used to this behaviour, I felt it was normal like any other norms and beliefs in society.¨
One day, a social worker from Uganda Youth Development Link (UYDEL) was passing by the brothel next to Rose's home. She saw Rose and shared with her some of the services UYDEL offers to children. Rose decided to visit the centre and now goes there thrice a week. At the centre, she has been engaged in the rehabilitation process. She has received all kinds of support including life skills training, vocational skills training, decision-making skills training as well as counselling services. The centre also enrolled her in a bakery class and when she completes it, she will be supported with start-up tool kits to start her own enterprise.
¨I believe I will be able to improve my livelihood standards if all goes well. I am confident enough and I can now be the change agent and role model to other children especially when I start my own business. Through the consistent care and support from the TdH-NL through UYDEL staff, my well-being has been improved.¨ She added.