‘After my parents died the only thing I looked forward to in life was my own death,’ admits Betty.

‘My childhood had been a happy one until I started losing my family. We couldn’t believe it when my two siblings died one after the other - we were all devastated, but my parents mourned the most.’

‘My parents were so distracted by their grief it felt like they didn’t care about me,’ Betty says. Desperate to get her parents attention, Betty started acting out – stealing money and refusing to do any work. ‘They barely noticed, or sometimes they said something negative that hurt me even more.’

When Betty’s parents passed away she was embraced by the local church and gave her life to Christ, but she was still in great pain and felt deeply unloved and lonely.

A spirit of death

Soon after, she met a boy in church who promised to marry her. ‘Before the wedding happened he got me pregnant,’ says Betty.

‘Because he was a minister in the church he was told to marry me, but he refused, saying he would end up dead if he took me as his wife. He claimed I had a spirit of death following me and that’s why I’d lost all my family.’

Betty says the words of her boyfriend hurt even more than the loss of her family. ‘I left the church and was all on my own with the responsibility of taking care of my son, Lawrence.’

Ostracised and alone Betty struggled to support herself and her child, and was vulnerable to the abuse of predatory men.

‘One time a man took advantage of me and then strangled me and left me for dead. In the morning I was picked up by friends who left me at the church where my son was being looked after,’ she says

The church pastor took pity on Betty and her desperate situation and gave her a job as a house maid, later connecting her with Amigos.

Cleansed from the inside out

‘My life at Kira Farm Development Centre was a time of cleansing from the inside out,’ she smiles. ‘I’d been carrying the guilt of all the horrible things I had done in the past, but the love and discipleship training I experienced on Kira helped me to love myself and let go of that guilt.’

Betty acquired life-saving vocational skills whilst at Kira Farm. ‘Thanks to the training my thinking changed. It gave me hope and made me want to live a long life because I knew I could use my skills to provide a decent future for myself and my son.’

A new life

When Betty returned home after 12 months at Kira Farm, she hit the ground running.

‘I never imagined I could support myself and my son without having to depend on anyone, but with my new skills I can,’ she beams. ‘Life is getting better every day!’

Betty found the training she’d received in business skills particularly useful and promptly set up a sabusa and chapatti making business.

With her new-found confidence and business nous, Betty secured three contracts supplying snacks to local schools. With the profits she made she was able to open up a small café.

Today Betty earns over £65 a month and has created employment for two local girls – a real gift to a community where there is no work for young people.

Keen to diversify her income, Betty decided to put into practise her new hairdressing skills and she now has a good customer base, making nearly £20 a month from hairdressing alone.

And she hasn’t stopped there! ‘Today I am a minister in the church and I am using my journey of transformation to encourage the youth,’ she smiles.

‘Thank you so much to Amigos for making me a better person, and to my sponsors, St Mary’s – you have changed my life.’

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