Orphaned at a young age and left in the care of his older siblings, who were frequently drunk, William’s childhood was one of abject poverty. Unable to afford school fees, the young boy also drank on occasion to bury his pain and frustration. ‘My life only began when I arrived at Kira Farm,’ says William.

 

Beauty, hope and new life

As a child, William was told that heaven was the most beautiful place on earth. ‘Arriving at Kira Farm was like walking through the gates of heaven,’ he smiles. ‘It was the most beautiful place I had ever seen. I had never come across so many fruit trees in my life or seen such beautiful mud huts.’

Accustomed to sleeping on the floor, William didn’t sleep for the first three nights at Kira for fear of falling out of bed. ‘Eventually one of my dormitory friends got scared, wondering why I was sitting up in bed. He was afraid I might be intending to harm him, so I had to explain my fears,’ says William. His dorm mates reassured him he would be OK, and within a week he had started to sleep well.

The vocational and discipleship training that William received at Kira filled him with the much-needed hope that life was going to improve. ‘Spending time at beautiful Kira Farm gave me the desire to live a better life,’ he smiles.

Returning home

On his return home, William found life difficult for the first few months. His brothers had been drinking, rather than farming, and since they hadn’t planted anything all year there was no food. Even the family’s three chickens and goat had had been sold. William, however, was thankful for his own sobriety which enabled him to see a way out.

‘Although things were difficult, I was able to think about how I might get us out of this desperate situation,’ he says.

With his newfound self-esteem, William approached one of the engineers working on the Kidepo National Game Park road, and asked him for a job. William explained he had been trained in construction at Kira Farm and the engineer put William forward for a one-month building contract in Entebbe, where he earned £155.

Returning to his village and securing more building contracts, William has been able to save at least £13 a week.  Together with other Kira graduates, who had also been trained in carpentry, William made some benches so they could open a church.

‘This meant we could encourage people to come for devotions, but we could also use the opportunity to pass on the skills we had gained,’ he says. The church they created currently has 110 young people, who gather not only for church, but to learn restorative justice approaches. ‘This is bringing peace and reducing drinking amongst the youths in the village,’ William explains.

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Hard work pays dividends

Using some of his savings to buy three acres of land on the main road, William now has plans to build a business there and train other young people. He has also formed a team in his village to encourage the community in tree planting.

‘I have been sourcing fruit trees and I am happy that we have been able to plant the first jackfruit trees in the entire Orom region,’ he says. ‘I believe in years to come the people in my village will be able to enjoy fruits like the people on Kira.’ 

Working hard at farming, William now has a huge cotton garden which he expects to yield a harvest worth £900 - providing the funds to build on his land. William’s progress has been a wake-up call to his brothers who have begun to realise they need to change their lifestyle.

‘I am starting to see a change in them,’ he says. ‘They come and ask me for advice and recently one of them joined the church - he hasn’t touched a drop of alcohol for three months.’

William, previously an impoverished orphan with no education, hope or future, is now an inspiration to his family and community. What a transformation!