No Longer Living In Shame Growing Up In Shame ‘I grew up shrouded in shame and embarrassment. I lived with my mother and my sister, but we couldn’t mix with anyone in our village because of my father’s infidelity. He has 12 children, all with different women. Whenever there was a village meeting my father would be the main topic of discussion - people would accuse him of sleeping with their underage daughters, or their wives. ‘As a result, I was called all sorts of names and endured endless bullying and loneliness. My life was awful; I barely had any friends. I hated anything to do with fathers – I even hated God because every time I had to recite the Lord’s Prayer, starting with ‘Our Father’, all I could think about was my awful dad. The older I grew, the more I despised him, and I began to hate myself for being his son. I can’t begin to tell you the relief I felt when I was given the opportunity to spend a year at Kira Farm Development Centre. It turned my life around! Finding A Father Figure ‘When I first arrived at the centre, Joshua Kizito, Kira Farm Manager, shared with us his background and talked about the difficult relationship he’d had with his father. I was amazed to observe that he was like a dad to us all, in spite of his childhood. It inspired me to put aside my disappointment with my own father and helped me focus on what I could become with God’s help. The life skills training at Kira Farm helped my confidence and self-esteem to grow daily. I never thought I would want to be a father myself, but towards the end of my year at Kira alongside my fellow trainees, we all went through the ‘Strength’ programme. It was just what I needed to understand what a loving father and faithful husband looked like. Apart from the good examples shown by the male staff on Kira, the Strength programme trainers were hugely inspiring role models. They were men who had gone through tough times and yet loved their families. Over the course of the year I began to replace the anger I had for my father with compassion. I learnt to forgive him, and now I really wanted to see him change. A Community Leader ‘To everyone’s surprise, when I returned from Kira Farm, I immediately joined the church. I was no longer shy and embarrassed, hiding away from everybody because of my father’s shameful behaviour. I became part of the youth team, where I’ve been able to share the knowledge and understanding I gained from my year at Kira Farm. I have also been doing some serious farming, thanks to the conservation farming skills I learnt at Kira. Because everyone has seen the amazing yields I’m getting from my farming, the church now employs me on a one-year contract to teach a group of five young people conservation agriculture. Once this group have completed the course and passed their knowledge on to their families, the church wants me to take another group. I never thought I would be a teacher or a leader in my community! I am also doing well in my small carpentry business thanks to the training I acquired at Kira – I’m receiving orders to make doors, tables and beds. With the extra income I have been able to start up a piggery with 4 pigs; my aim is to grow the project to 20 pigs. Kira taught me good hygiene, so I have been able to improve the sanitation at our home by building a tippy tap and a proper pit latrine. It’s reduced sickness in the family and is a great example to our neighbours and anyone visiting. One unexpected result of my training is that, thanks to the restorative approach that we learnt, I have been able to reconnect with my father. I’m amazed at how open he has been and how he has listened to the damaging impact his life had on our family. I am really looking forward to growing this relationship and have I great faith that he will change his life. I am so grateful to my sponsors in the UK; with your help, my life has been transformed. I used to have no hope, but now I know that I have a great future ahead of me.