We are so proud to let you know that our young man, Mike, has started mechanics training!!
Mike has been involved in Kids First from the early days and was one of the first sponsored children in 2008. He had a really difficult background and had been out of school for a while. Sarah and Sunny have been sponsoring him for the past few years and Joshua has been putting in huge effort to support Mike with his studies. When he wasn't succeeding Josh counselled him, and helped him into a new school in the hopes that it would have more support for him.
In the end, we all realised that with such a long time out of formal education, school just wasn't the right place for Mike. He is good with his hands and likes to learn by doing, not by sitting in a classroom. He has an interest in mechanics and loves cars. The next step was to turn this into an opportunity for him.
There are no government funded techs or colleges where Mike could go to learn these skills. To be a mechanic you need to find someone trustworthy who will take you on at their garage and learn purely by apprenticeship. What you put in is what you get out. And if you do well, hopefully you will have a job at the end of the year.
After much searching and speaking to different mechanics in Kampala, Josh has found a place where Mike fits in and is able to attend. He is a shy young man, and needed encouragement to know that he could do it. For the past 2 years he has been out of school and mentored by Joshua till he had enough self esteem to put himself out there with training, and till he was old enough to be taken in for training. The fees for his training aren't much more than a year's sponsorship. And after 12 months hopefully Mike will come away with a sense of accomplishment, a job, and an income.
As Josh says: from a boy we are happy to have grown a man. And not just a man, but someone who will be able to be a good father to his kids and support his family.
We are so stoked to let you know that our little Harriet is now getting good treatment for her HIV. You may remember she has had a tumultuous childhood - an alcoholic mum who would leave her at the mercy of those in her neighbourhood at night while she sold herself to prostitution, and neglect such that she could not even walk when we found her.
She is now living with a women who is fully involved in Kids First and is really integrated into her family. She is attending school daily and her sponsor is covering extra medical costs for her physio and rehab to help her walk. Now Josh and his fiancee Mary are supporting her in treating her HIV. There is A LOT of medication she has to take. Fortunately this is all free. What she has needed was a stable environment and responsible adults in her life like Joshua, who will help to make sure she takes her medication on time.
If she continues to take all this daily, the doctors have advised she may live till 40. If most of you were given a possible life expectancy of 40 years, I imagine you would think that is shorter rather than longer than you were hoping, or expecting.
Those of us in NZ (or the US, or many other places!) are blessed to expect a longer life than 40 years. We also take certain standards of living for granted; knowledge about illness such as STIs and how to prevent them, is freely taught in school. We have education, which gives us choices, which opens up opportunities. Let us not forget how fortunate we are, that for many of us our lives have been handed to us on a platter (of sorts) and the least we can do is extend a hand to those we were less fortunate with their birth circumstance.
Here at Kids First we all have something to say, so this blog will be updated by members of our team as our work progresses to keep all of you in the loop!