One year after being referred to Hope for Justice, Dembe* has completed her vocational training in tailoring and now runs her own workshop, thanks to support from our team.
Dembe found herself trapped in domestic servitude after her parents separated and her father moved her to Kampala. He hoped getting her work as a housemaid would help bring in some extra income. But, instead, Dembe was badly abused.
In December 2021, she was brought to one of our Lighthouses after a Government Probation and Social Welfare Officer realised she was being exploited. In our care, the 15-year-old received catch-up education, counselling and medical attention, training in life skills and business skills, and career guidance. Dembe was keen to pursue tailoring, so we helped her enrol onto a course where she received five months of hands-on training and a one-month internship.
In the meantime, our team worked to trace her family and to assess what support she would need to be reunited with her mother. We discovered that her family was living in extreme poverty and her mother was in poor health. That meant that if Dembe returned home, she would be at risk of re-trafficking.
So, we supported Dembe’s mother with business coaching and helped her to set up a business selling second-hand clothes and bedding. Dembe was then able to move back safely with her mother, siblings and grandparents.
We also gave Dembe a start-up grant to set up her own tailoring workshop, so now mother and daughter are able to work alongside each other and their business is doing well. “Working with my mother and helping her makes me feel good,” Dembe told our team. “I love tailoring very much. I want to learn different fashions and become a famous fashion designer.”
Dembe, now 16, hopes to keep building her business so she can support her siblings to finish school. Our team will continue to check on Dembe with monitoring visits and we will offer practical advice about running and growing their business so that none of the family are at risk of trafficking in the future.