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Top News Deaf teenager reunited with mother after seven years

Deaf teenager reunited with mother after seven years

A teenage girl has been reunited with her mother after seven years of not knowing where her family were or how to get home. 

When Blessing* was 12 years old, her parents separated, and she came to live under the care of her father and stepmother in the Ugandan town of Kajjansi.  

In the summer of 2017, Blessing accompanied her stepmother to a community celebration but the pair became separated. 

Blessing is deaf, and at the time, was unable to use sign language to communicate. 

Thankfully, she was found by a kind-hearted person who took her to the nearest police station – Kajjansi Police Station – where she would be safe. 

Kajjansi Police Station, Uganda. Image, Google Maps

The officers knew about Hope for Justice’s work to protect vulnerable children from the risk of exploitation. They referred Blessing to our team and she came to stay at one of our Lighthouses. These are safe havens for children who have been, or who are at risk of being, exploited. Here, we provide temporary care and support, keeping children safe from the dangers of the streets or their previous circumstances. 

Our team began working to trace Blessing’s family members, but our search did not yield any results. 

In September 2019, Blessing was supported into foster care in Mukono, a town east of the capital Kampala. During this time, Hope for Justice enrolled her at a school for deaf people, where she studied up to Primary 3. In Uganda, children undertake seven years of primary education. At school, Blessing learned sign language and other skills. 

While she was in foster care, Hope for Justice continued the search to locate Blessing’s family. 

Finally, earlier this year, our team was successful. An advert was broadcast on local television and Blessing’s older brother happened to be watching. He reached out to the foster staff and foster mother. Our team was able to trace Blessing’s mother in the Zombo district, in northern Uganda. This was more than 400km north of Kajjansi where Blessing went missing. 

Now, aged 19, Blessing has been reunited with her mother. She is home. 

“It was a moment of mixed emotions”, our team said. “Both parties hugged and cried when they saw each other.”

Hope for Justice’s clinical psychologist, social worker and a sign language interpreter worked together to ensure that there was a smooth transition from foster care to the biological family. 

During one of the meetings, Blessing’s mother knelt down in a sign of respect, to thank Hope for Justice and the foster mother for taking care of Blessing. 

A member of our team said: “After four years of foster care, the greatest success is not just in reunifying Blessing back home, but in the holistic support that was extended to her by her foster family and Hope for Justice staff, restoring her to embrace her true home and family. 

“We are so grateful to the foster mother who has cared for Blessing for more than four years. And we want to thank all of those who support our life-saving work.” 

Blessing is doing well and settling in with her mother at their home. She is actively involved in agriculture and poultry keeping, under supervision. She is soon to be re-enrolled at school.  

*Name changed to protect identity of the survivor 

young girl