I'd like you to meet Jane! Jane is 19 years old, and twice a week she helps teach other girl survivors of human trafficking how to make and sell their own handcrafted paper pearl jewelry. She knows how new girls feel who join FAIR Girls JewelGirls Uganda program because she too survived a life of exploitation on the streets.
At 14, Jane lost both of her parents to HIV/AIDS. Sadly, an estimated 1.2 million Ugandan children have lost their parents this way. Jane’s uncle could not pay for her school fees, and Jane was forced to leave school. She tried to live with her grandmother, but there was not enough food or basic needs, so she was forced out onto the streets where men quickly began to take advantage of her vulnerability. She became one of Uganda’s estimated 10,000 children who are forced to live on the streets.
“Many boys and men approached me for sex, and I needed food and clothes so I had no choice. I was only 14 years old. They would use me and I had to do what they said. Some were violent, and they only wore protection if they wanted to do it. I had no say and nowhere to go. Then, I started to feel sick.”
Outreach workers found then 17 year old Jane on the streets and offered to help her. Jane was lucky to not have HIV/AIDS, but she did need help to overcome the other illnesses she had developed during three years on the streets. Jane joined FAIR Girls’ JewelGirls program where she could feel support from other girls who had been through similar exploitation and loss. Her self-esteem began to rise, and earning an income meant she could take classes and look toward her future.
“I look back. If I had not got this kind of support, I would probably be HIV positive, or I would be a mother with no money to take care of my child. I want to tell my story to help other girls like me and stop the cycle of trafficking. Jewel Girls is a wonderful opportunity to restore lost hope and start to take care of yourself again.”
Now, Jane is a JewelGirls leader and encourages other girls to share their stories, too. She loves jewelry making, and helps new girls create beautiful and unique designs. Jane comes part-time to JewelGirls and is now a childcare taker at a local school. Her future is bright and she has come along way. She is no longer just another invisible child on the streets!
Thank you for supporting FAIR Girls’ Ugandan JewelGirls program. We could not empower girl leaders like Jane without your amazing support. Please continue to spread the word about our Girl Effect Challenge all this November. We look forward to sharing more stories of success from the amazing young women in our JewelGirls program. Thank you so very much!
All the best,
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