Today Haron is a successful construction worker, he has set his brothers up in business, he is paying for his sister to go to school, and is helping his father battle alcohol addiction. Life looked very different 18 months ago when Haron told us, ‘I wished to die a thousand times.’

As a child Haron often went hungry because his father sold the little food they had grown on their land to pay for alcohol. Tragically, his father turned to drink after Haron’s mother was hit by a car and killed. 

Before they were even allowed to bury their mother, the family had to give most of their land to their late mother’s family to pay off an outstanding dowry debt.

As a result, Haron and his siblings were only left with two acres of land – not nearly enough for them to work or inherit.

A childhood filled with war

During the civil war Haron and his family fled to a camp for refuge. ‘When I was 12-years-old I encouraged my friends to leave the camp so we could go looking for mangoes – a fruit we all dearly missed and loved,’ he explains.

‘We were captured by rebels and they told me I had to kill my friends. When I refused the rebels killed them anyway and I was beaten for refusing to kill them myself.’

Haron grew up blaming himself for the death of his friends and the scars on his body were a constant reminder of the horrors he had experienced.  ‘I always lacked the courage to take my own life, but I believe it was because God had a plan for me,’ he says.

Learning self-love

‘I think the greatest thing I learnt at Kira Farm was how to love myself,’ says Haron. ‘The discipleship training and mentoring completely changed my life. I came to Kira with a lot of pain and emptiness and often wondered why I was chosen in the first place; but here I was at Kira, living like a king!’

Haron’s newfound faith was key to his transformation. ‘I gave my life to Christ on Kira, knowing that I was a new creation in Him. I was given a beautiful love letter from my heavenly Father and I take it with me everywhere I go.’

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Courage to improve

Life wasn’t easy when Haron returned home. His hut had been rented out by his father to pay for alcohol and so Haron had to share with his brother. After comfortable lodgings at Kira, he was back to sleeping on the floor with no mattress or blanket and knew he couldn't cope with this life much longer.

Having been exposed to different people at Kira, especially Westerners, Haron felt confident enough to approach a Chinese engineer working on the road constructions in Gulu.

‘He was surprised by my courage - not many people talk to them, explains Haron. ‘This friendly Chinese man put me in touch with a friend in South Sudan and since then I have been employed on a construction site.’

Financial security

Haron now earns £145 a month, and this amount is set to increase now that he has improved his skills and confidence in the building industry. Having saved a great deal, he is currently negotiating the purchase of four acres of land.

Using the business skills he acquired at Kira Farm, Haron has set up his brothers in a produce trading business, investing £200 of his own savings. ‘I am happy that one of my brothers, who has a wife and child, is now managing to take care of his family,' he says.

Haron is grateful that he has also been able to send one of his little sisters back to school – something his family couldn't afford to do.

Rehabilitation and restoration

Haron is now keen to help his father beat alcoholism and is in talks with the family about how they might accomplish this. The restorative approaches he learned on Kira Farm is helping him with day-to-day life too.

‘Where I work in South Sudan people are very hostile, but thanks to the restorative approaches I learnt I can handle the challenge of working in different country and I now have many friends,' Haron smiles.

There is an English-speaking church nearby and Haron has encouraged a number of his fellow builders to attend and he is seeing a change in them too.

‘I am happy because the scars I got in the war are no longer a reminder of sadness, but a push for me to be a better person and make this world a better place, through sharing the skills I got on Kira.’