The Girl In the Chicken Coop

On Monday, we were alerted to a teen mom in a very desperate situation. 

Two years ago, Clare left her village (some 15 hours away by bus) and came to Kampala to work as a house maid. As happens more often than not, she became pregnant. She was fired, and the baby’s father disappeared.

Her family would not pay for her to come back to the village because of the baby.

Now, Clare and her 1 year old son live in what is basically a chicken coop. It’s about 4’ off the ground, and has about 4’ of headspace between the “floor” and the ceiling. The total size is 4’x6’, and someone is raising rabbits in the space underneath her.

When she can, she takes in clothes to wash for 1000 or 2000 shillings. (Her rent is 30,000 shillings.) She can go several days with no customers and no money. 

The social workers visited her in the morning and reported back on Clare’s situation. We took a bigger team and bought some emergency food to get them through a week or so. (Prices have literally doubled in the last two months, which is a whole other post!) 

I have seen some bad living situations in my hundreds of visits to the Namuwongo slum, but I have really never seen anything like this place that Clare has been living in. The only good thing you could say about it was that it is just one home off the open space around the railway, so it isn’t as closed in and awful as many places are. But otherwise… it really was horrifying.

We spoke at length to Clare. When we discovered that her family would take her back with the baby (many Ugandan families won’t) but they wouldn’t assist her in getting home because of the baby, we determined that the best solution was the temporary food, a mosquito net, some soap, and transportation back to the village.

In the next several days, our team will purchase the ticket, escort Clare and her son to the depot and get her safely on the bus with her belongings, and contact her family to let them know she will be arriving and when. We will follow up to make sure she arrived safely.

We have a project on DonorSee to reimburse our budget for this expense — we’d love your help to fund it. It’s already 25% funded! As with all our emergency projects, we solve the problem FIRST, and then seek to repay our budget.

We thank you for helping us continue working with teen moms in the slum!

Send Clare to the village!



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