‘Before I joined Kira Farm Development Centre my life was full of hopelessness and fear,’ explains Simon Peter. ‘My father was killed in a car crash on his way home from work and after his death it was my job, as the eldest son, to take full responsibility of the family.

Dreams dashed

‘I had always dreamt of becoming a teacher, but after my father died I knew it was impossible,’ explains Simon.

‘My self-esteem plummeted as I realised I would never be able to meet the expectations of my family. In desperation I allowed my two younger sisters, aged 17 years and 14 years, to be taken away for marriage. 

‘It broke me to pieces because I knew my father would never have let it happen, but I accepted the marriages because it was the only way we could survive – I received two cows as a dowry which enabled me to take care of the rest of the family.

A family of fear

‘Unfortunately my decision made things worse in the family, because my three younger sisters were terrified I would marry them off too. Then I did something really stupid – I sold the cows, telling my mother I was going to pay off some family debts. Instead I wasted the money on gambling; my mother was furious and hated me for what I’d done.

‘I felt empty and unloved and knew I needed to do something to change my life, so I decided to apply to Kira Farm. Other young people in the village had been to Kira and I’d watched them transform their lives – I wanted to do the same.’

Receiving God’s love

‘Before I came to Kira no one took me seriously. As a small man, with low levels of confidence, even my family didn’t treat me as the head of the household. Right from day one at the Farm I was amazed that I was treated with respect and made to feel important.

‘As I slept on a bed that first night at Kira, instead of the floor, I knew things were going to change. This was going to be a new beginning, I would become a new person.

‘While I was at Kira Farm my confidence started to improve thanks to the wonderful discipleship teachings we received. 

‘I began to believe that God still loved me, despite the things I had done, and that gave me hope for the future - I was desperate to amend my relationship with my family.

‘Towards the end of the 12 months of vocational training I began to feel nervous, I was keenly aware of the huge responsibilities I was returning to. 

‘I am so grateful for the business skills training which gave me confidence in making financial decisions, but also for the Strength programme which gave me the courage that I was a man of God, of strength, and now of good character – so I was in full control of my future.

Returning home

‘For the first couple of months back home I struggled, my family didn’t seem to love me much and I knew I had to work hard to gain their trust.

‘Thanks to the confidence I gained at Kira I was able to approach my late father’s building contacts and explain that I had just been trained in construction skills. As a result I have found work on a number of different building sites and have been making at least £7.00 a day. 

‘When I’m not on a building site I go to a carpentry workshop where I have made a profit of £89.00 so far.

‘Thanks to the money I’m making with my new skills I have been able to get my two younger sisters back into school, and this had brought us all closer together as a family. 

‘The sister who I married off at the age of 14 has now left the marriage and I’m helping her get back into school too.’

Business plans afoot

‘I have started a piggery project for my mother, and I believe by next year she will be able to help financially with raising our young family.

‘My family still can’t believe I’m the same person. I no longer gamble, I have helped set up a church with other Kira Farm graduates, and I have good, mature, friends in the community.

‘I know my father would be smiling down on me now because I have started building the family a permanent house and by the end of next year it will be complete.

‘Before I went to Kira Farm I was the head of the family but no one called me ‘daddy’. Today I have the skills, knowledge and confidence to be the father of the family and it brings joy to my heart when I hear my siblings call out my name: ‘daddy’. 

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