The work of resettling children is difficult and labor intensive. So when we have a story as inspiring and uplifting as Sampson’s, we can’t help but share it. Our gospel-soaked counseling program is seeing some tangible results and the response that Sampson has to it makes all the long hours worth while. The following account comes from our 2nd quarter report submitted to the UG government regarding our work in returning children to their families.
Nyesiga Sampson* is a 13 year-old boy who we met at M1. The M1 staff identified Sam as a street child needing to be resettled, so we enrolled Sam in the Resettlement Counseling class, traced for his family, and resettled him.
One month after resettlement, we completed a follow-up visit and we quickly learned that Sam was doing wonderful. His mom was so grateful for how Sam had changed. She reported that Sam no longer goes to the streets, works hard at home, and does what he is asked. His mom committed to finding a school for Sam and trusted that God would provide for his education.
In May 2014, we completed a second follow-up visit. Sam met our criteria for additional aid, so we visited the mother and Sam to follow-up and pay school fees. During the follow-up discussions, we learned that Sam had fulfilled one of our visions for the children: “to transform society by becoming a leader”. When Sam had been living on the streets, he had a best friend named Alex. Together, they sold scrap, stayed out late, and skipped school. Upon resettlement, Sam immediately found his friend and began counseling him. Sam wanted Alex to experience the same reconciliation and hope that he had.
Sam began teaching Alex everything he learned in the resettlement counseling class. Sam taught Alex about anger management, the importance of going to school, how to control his anger, and much more. At first, Alex did not want to change, but Sam did not give up; he continued reaching out. During their conversations, Alex expressed fear at returning home so Sam told Alex, “I will go home with you. I will stand with you.”
Alex agreed to go home. Both of the boys met with Alex’s parents. Alex asked forgiveness and Sam explained how he had changed at M1 and what he learned while living there. Alex’s parents enthusiastically accepted the apology and were so grateful for Sam’s love and care for Alex. Alex is now happily living at home and both Sam and Alex’s parents are thrilled at the changes in their sons’ behaviors.
Through our work, particularly with the Resettlement Counseling class, Sam has completely changed his behavior and is now a productive member of society. He is in Primary 5, working hard in school, and helping his mom care for their home. Sam is also sharing what has learned these past few months to other street children, helping them experience the same restoration he did.
We are so thankful for the opportunity to work at M1, to have the opportunity to provide counseling support, and to see that children are going from M1 into their communities, and transforming society by becoming leaders in their families and communities.
* His name has been changed to protect his identity.