Sharon is 17 years old. She grew up with her grand mother in a family of 5 members in Mubende. The family consisted three granddaughters and two grandsons. She is an orphan and has no siblings. Sharon never had a chance to see her parents. The father died when he had gone fishing and her mother was expecting her. Unfortunately, the mother also died just after giving birth to Sharon.
She also never had a chance to go to school because her grandmother could not afford paying her school fees. She would stay home doing domestic work and tendering to the garden. Her grand mother always encouraged her to work hard by telling her that orphans too can have a bright future even though they have never gone to school. This forced Sharon to work hard and have hope for a bright future.
In April 2011, a friend to her grandmother requested for Sharon to go and work as a domestic worker. It was agreed that she will earn USD 10 per month and the grand mothers accepted. She was taken to Nsambya police Barracks and worked for Kagusa. Sharon used to take care of 8 members (2 adults and 5 children).She used to wake up at 7am to prepare the children for school and after take them to school. She also used to do all the domestic work like mop the house, wash utensils/clothes, cooking and general house duties etc.
Sharon worked for 9 months and was not paid salaries for the 5 months; instead she was battered, abused by the employer and their children.
Sharon knew about PLA when she escaped from home to come and attend the awareness session that was held at Nsambya police barracks. It was after this session that she knew her rights. She then and got the courage to report her case to Child Family and Protection Unit (CFPU) office which was forwarded to PLA office. She was denied the opportunity of being withdrawn from domestic work by her employer yet she was interested.
When the case reached PLA office, Sharon was forcefully withdrawn and kept under the care of one taskforce member until the day of placement. The employer was summoned, and she accepted to sign an agreement that she will pay USD 60 which was later paid.
Sharon enrolled in hair dressing course at Nile Vocational School for six months. She was sponsored by Platform for Labour action. She completed the hair dressing course in March 2013. She is self employed, braids client’s hair and earns around USD 5 to USD 15 a day depending on number of customers. She braids different styles in twist, pencil, wigs etc. Because of her skills; she is some times called by clients at their homes to braid their hair. She says, `my challenge is lack of money to buy driers and other requirements. These need retouch and treatment of hair for her to earn more money a day’.
Sharon thanked PLA for giving her an opportunity to go to school, withdrawing her from domestic work. Since she was an orphan and had lost hope. She further says that she can now believe her grand mothers words, “even orphans can have a bright future even though they have never gone to school”
There many girls involved in domestic work like Sharon in Kampala. These girls are abused and sometimes go without pay. With the help of well-wishers we will be able to empower more domestic like Sharon.