Mary, 14 years, is a member of ‘Patience Pays Club’ under the ICYD Journeys program(group program for youth) in Tororo.
Mary’s mother narrates that her daughter was a very well-behaved girl who used to attend her school regularly and would also help her with house chores such as cooking and washing utensils. She would listen and respect her parents.
However, everything changed when she reached adolescence and this was worsened by the school closure due to COVID-19.
“Mary started disrespecting us, loitered around the village and started to disguise that she is visiting a relative only to stay in her boyfriend’s house for several days. When this news got to her dad, he beat her badly as a way of disciplining her. But this didn’t help, she kept on disappearing from home and would return home late…”
the mother narrates.
When ICYD started mobilizing for the Journeys intervention in this village,
one of the PSWs reached her home to ask her parents if she could join the club, she was hesitant.
But the PSWs kept persuading her and for the first session,
the PSW went around her area and accompanied her and other children to the training venue.
At first Mary had less interest in the training for she was reportedly still confused and stressed about what was happening in her life.
But little by little she picked interest in the trainings.
“When the facilitator reached the topic “understanding healthy and un healthy relationships”, “pupil to pupil relationship” and gave examples about good and bad friends, I felt touched and after the session, I opened up to the facilitator about my sexual relationship”.
After an in-depth discussion and targeted counselling,
Mary disclosed to the facilitator that whenever she experienced her Menstrual cycles, her parents never provided her with Sanitary pads and whenever she asked her mother she would say she didn’t have money.
So ‘I resorted to getting a boyfriend who is a shop keeper in our neighborhood, who would give me some money and Pads whenever I needed them. Mary narrates.
The facilitator counselled her and made an appointment to meet her parents to discuss about the problem.
When the facilitator visited Mary’s parents and talked to them about what was forcing Mary into unhealthy relationships,
they promised to provide her with the basic needs and she promised to stay at school and never absent herself again.
Mary is now changed and encourages other girls who could be going through the same situation like her to always listen to their parent’s advice, embrace training opportunities that come into the community like the ICYD Activity.
She also encourages her fellow pupils to have good and focused friends.