Children with a disability are highly vulnerable to all kinds of abuse and exploitation. Sixteen year old Isaac from Busia suffered brain damage at birth. The resulting learning difficulties made him an easy bullying target. He was trafficked, subjected to labour exploitation and sexually abused and exploited.
Isaac did not go to school until he was ten years old. It was too hard for him to cope with the regular curriculum. After a year of struggling academically, he was transferred to a special needs school. Isaac faced a lot of bullying, in school and in his community. This affected his self esteem, he became withdrawn and hardly talked.
To make matters worse, his father lost his job and started chronic drinking. Without their father’s income, all five siblings had to drop out of school to help the family survive. Isaac was fourteen years old and began hawking sugarcane on market days. He was also hired as a casual labourer to cut sugarcane.
The work was too inconsistent however to earn enough to provide for the family. In search for better opportunities, Isaac was trafficked to neighbouring Uganda. He worked as a herder but never got paid. After three months he had enough and sought refuge with a neighbour. This man promised to help him with transport back home.
Instead, the boy was sexually exploited by the man. Isaac was threatened not to tell anyone, since he was getting food and shelter. The sexual abuse caused physical injuries. Other neighbours noticed Isaac was in pain and reported their concerns. The police rescued the boy and took him back to Kenya.
“My life was miserable. I felt like killing myself.”
Terre des Hommes Netherlands supported Isaac with food, shelter, medical aid and intensive counselling while his family was being traced. He was resettled back home. Isaac was further assisted with seed capital and various training in entrepreneurship. This equipped him to begin poultry rearing.
Business is thriving - within ten months Isaac became the sole breadwinner of his family. To him, his most important achievement is that he is able to keep his two younger sisters in school.
“Life has changed because I can sell hens and buy food and clothes amongst other basic needs. I am very proud. I have gained knowledge on keeping poultry from chicks to hens, and how to run a business. This project has made me a busy man - I love myself! I would like to become a great farmer so that my parents and my sisters can have a better life.”