‘I was born into a loving family and we never had to struggle for money,’ says Ahmed. ‘I was so fortunate that my parents were able to provide a good life for me and my sister.’

 ‘Sadly I let them down - to their faces I was the perfect child, but behind their backs I was a completely different person.

 Drug taking at 10 years old

‘My parents hired maids and chamberboys in our home, and when I was just 10-year-old they started giving me drugs. When I began misbehaving my parents put me in a boarding school, but that just made things worse. I used to steal from my friends, engage in sexual activities and do many other bad things.

‘One time after visiting me at school my parents had a car crash on the way home. They both died. To make things worse, they were very upset when they left the school because my teacher had just told them how badly I was doing.

‘I blamed myself for my parents’ death’

‘I never stopped blaming myself for their death. I began to hate myself and when my grandfather had a stroke, shortly after my grandparents had taken me in, I thought it was God’s way of punishing me.

‘Eventually the pain and guilt became too much to live with and on two occasions I tried to commit suicide. That’s when a local pastor intervened and told me about Kira Farm Development Centre.

Inner turmoil

‘For the first few months at Kira Farm I appeared happy on the outside, but inside I was in in turmoil. I am so grateful for the love I received from the staff at Kira – in the beginning I was difficult to deal with but everyone was so patient with me. When I gave my life to Christ I found a peace I can’t explain.

‘I wasn’t educated beyond Year 7 so I always thought I could never make anything of my life, but the skills-training I received at Kira, both in construction and conservation farming, gave me hope that I could do something to improve my life. And guess what? I’m so happy to tell you that my life is getting better each and every day!

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Creating employment

‘I’m also really grateful for the business skills training we received on Kira – I went home on fire to do business. I approached some of the youth group in my church and told them about my idea of making snacks and selling them to schools near us. They bought into the idea, I did some market research, and I found three schools we could provide snacks to on different days.

‘I’m so happy that I not only created employment for myself, but also for young people in church who weren’t doing anything with their time.

‘I earn at least £45 a month from the food business, which only runs Monday to Thursday. On Friday and Saturday I pick up building jobs, making at least £16 a week. Thanks to the training we’ve received I know it’s worth investing in my business, so I am saving £5 a week so I will be able to buy machinery for the business and employ other young people in the community. 

Supporting grandparents

‘I have moved out of my grandparents’ home and I’m now renting a house of my own - even with these new costs I am still able to support my grandparents with their medical bills. My grandparents approved of me getting my own place, which shows they have noticed a real change in me. In the past they used to worry whenever I was out of their sight, fearing I might harm myself.

‘I know the pain of living with guilt and now I have made it out the other side, I want to help other people too.’

Big thanks to Park School, Barnstaple, for sponsoring Ahmed's place at Kira Farm Development Centre