Growing up, J often went without food and experienced violence in the home. After she was brutally raped and left pregnant, this precious young woman lost all hope for the future. However, a year at Kira Farm restored her faith in God and gave her the confidence and ability to transform her life, and the lives of her family.

From Joy to Despair

"I am told I was always the joy of the family and that’s why I was given the name ‘Lanyero’, which means happy. I grew up in a large family with seven siblings and although we were very poor, we were happy.

Things changed when my father decided to take a second wife (polygamy is legal in Uganda) and suddenly we were no longer his priority. When he had children with his new wife there was no money left to pay our school fees, so we had to try and find the money ourselves. In desperation, my siblings and I would take on manual work in local farms to try and scrape together enough shillings to stay in class. If you couldn’t pay the fees, the teacher would send you home.

During one bad season there was hardly any food and we hadn’t eaten for two days - there was nothing in our fields and we didn’t have any money to buy food from the shop. Then I remembered a man I’d done some farming for three months ago who had failed to pay me - maybe this was the answer to our hunger? As I set out for the farmer's compound to ask for the money he owed me, I didn't realise that this would be the worst day of my life.

The Worst Day Of My Life

In the searing heat, I walked two villages away to ask for the money. Because of the hot sun, my empty stomach and the long walk, I collapsed when I reached his compound. When I eventually regained consciousness I was at the side of the road, naked from the waist down, and bleeding. I had been raped. 

An elderly lady helped me up and asked what happened, but the last thing I could remember was being in the man’s compound. He denied everything. When I discovered I was pregnant, I was scared because my child wouldn’t have a father. I was also very angry with my own father; if he had taken care of us, none of it would have happened. Despite the horror of the rape, I love my daughter Tracy more than anything in the world; she is my most precious possession.

Eventually, things got even worse; my father was tired of us living on his land and became violent, telling us to leave. My mother, siblings, Tracy and I moved to my grandparents’ home, where my aunts and uncles were abusive towards us because they feared we wanted to take their land; they even tried to kill us by poisoning our food.  

The whole situation was very stressful and caused my family to argue with each other. I would cry often, worrying about how I would raise a child who had no father and no home. One of my brothers had moved away years ago and seemed to have direction, so I asked him for advice and he connected me with Amigos. When I passed the interviews, I was so excited to become a trainee on Kira Farm.

A Glimmer of Hope

At Kira Farm I experienced peace for the first time in my life; it was the sweetest thing. I had never known peace like it. I could eat food every day without worrying it had been poisoned, I could go sleep at night without being woken by people fighting. Instead, at Kira, I would wake up to birds singing in the morning! What a contrast! I can’t begin to describe how wonderful the whole experience was.

And, of course, I was so happy to learn vocational skills like tailoring, which made me feel optimistic about the future for the first time. Kira Farm gave me the confidence and belief that I could change my life and help my family, too.  

Struggling Towards Success

The first few months back in the village were horrible, I had no food and hardly any money. Although it was tough, my time at Kira had taught me hope and determination.

Thanks to my new-found confidence, I felt able to approach a local savings group (traditional banks would be inaccessible in remote villages) and they lent me £25 to set up a tailoring shop in a nearby town. Within three months I had repaid the loan and Tracy and I had moved out of the toxic family environment and into a new home of our own. Because of the business training that I received at Kira, I have expanded my enterprise and I now sell shoes, too. Thanks to the good profits I’m making I’m able to help my family and I am also teaching two of my siblings the tailoring and hairdressing skills I learnt at Kira so in the future they can join my business, earn money to support themselves, and buy land.

During our toughest times, most of my family gave up on God but I am happy that God is using me as a testimony of His unending love. Through sharing my discipleship and restorative knowledge with my family, most of them are returning to church and life is much more harmonious in my mother’s home.

I am happy that I now have peace in my life and despite the challenges we face, I know I can take care of my daughter. I cannot thank my sponsors enough for enabling me to train at Kira Farm and build a good life for my family and myself.