IS THE NEXT STEP AFTER HALFWAY HOUSE QUARTERWAY HOUSE?
THIS IS GLORIA. TODAY, SHE BECAME HOMELESS.
Gloria is 16. Her son Imran is 6 months old. Before she got pregnant, Gloria was using drugs and alcohol, and trading sex for basic necessities like sanitary pads. She lived in a one-room home with 5-6 other girls, who have all now had babies, where the rent was paid by one or other of the girls’ boyfriends.
UNTIL IT WASN’T. NOW THEY’VE ALL BEEN EVICTED, AND GLORIA HAS NO FAMILY, AND NOWHERE TO GO.
Since January, Gloria has been participating in Guardian Angel and Skills for Life programs. She has been in the morning hairdressing class, working extremely hard. She has practiced during breaks and days off, coming in to learn not only hairdressing but also basic reading and writing in Luganda and a little English. She was the subject of our first documentary-style film.
When Ronald messaged me, we were able to have an immediate video meeting – man, do I love modern technology!
These are the daily challenges of working in a slum that has a HUGE population of teen moms who are largely uneducated and unemployed. And let’s be honest, it’s tough.
It’s tough to turn away girls in need. We get multiple calls a week from authorities and other organizations about teen moms in crisis. It’s just HARD. But we could have a house the size of a city block and still have to turn people away…
We do as much as we can and make sure to really invest in each girl we CAN take, making them a part of our family.
So we did the only thing we could do: we moved Gloria into the Ross House.
SO THAT BRINGS US TO THE “QUARTERWAY” HOUSE.
A couple of weeks ago, we realized that Sharon and Shadia, our two Ross House residents, had no family to go to when their stay was complete. Many (most?) of the teen girls in the programs don’t – they are either orphans, were kicked out when they got pregnant, were raped or abused by a man in their home who is not their father, or their family is in a village and unwelcoming. Our previous residents didn’t have this issue, though, so we hadn’t yet figured out the next step.
But by mid-June, we MUST have one! And now Gloria has come to the Ross House, and the need for “the next thing” (we’ll call it TNT) is even more urgent.
When we first realized we need a TNT, we began to plan. We have a lead on a 2-room place close to the Ross House/Guardian Angel/Skills for Life compound. It’s supposed to be available in May, so we are following up on that today.
We planned the HOW:
- a resident social worker
- a micro-savings program
- continued financial/business literacy training
- small contributions to the house to build the skill of budgeting
We applied for a grant to fund it – but with our accelerated schedule, the expenses will come before the money (if we’re blessed with a yes!).
BUT OF COURSE WE HAVE TO DO IT. THERE’S NOT EVEN ANY QUESTION…
Our goal isn’t a pleasant 3-4 month stay for a young, sick mom, and then to push her back out on the street to be in a worse state than before. Our goal is holistic.
- Medical care for physical wellness
- Psycho-social counseling for mental wellness
- Sexual trauma counseling for emotional wellness
- Vocational training for financial stability
The girls may not have a family — or a good family — to lean on, but they have us.
WE’RE ALL FAMILY NOW!
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