Alcohol causes tremendous harm all over the world. But while young people in the high-income countries are somewhat protected thanks to the welfare state system and health care systems, youth in low- and middle-income countries are more exposed to the harm of alcohol and other drugs.
Their stories are a reminder that we need to do everything we can to prevent alcohol use among youth. In this spirit, I share with you another case study:
Loy is a 24-year old girl from Bwaise, kimombasa zone Kampala city in Uganda and she is skilled in Hair dressing.
Loy is a born of Mpigi district where she used to stay with her grandmother because both parents passed away when she was still young hence not knowing neither of them. Loy was trafficked to Kampala by a family friend who told her she is giving Loy a job as a baby sitter of her children in Bwaise but in the end Loy started working in a bar when she was 8 years old where she was exposed to alcohol and sexual abuse by the men who the family friend used to bring for her and when she always reported this to her, she did not care. As time passed by, the family friend she referred to as mother chased her away from her home so she went to a friend she had met in the same area, whom she started staying with and was a commercial sex worker who convinced Loy to join but in this case, the money Loy earned was being given to the friend by the customers. This resulted into disagreements so she left her friend’s place and began residing on the streets of Bwaise until she resorted to going to all the night clubs in Kawempe daily since she had no shelter.
From this social life, Loy met two other friends whom they partied with and were considered as celebrities in Bwaise. The whole village knew them until one point they were given an eviction letter from the local council because they were a bad example in the community. The activities they performed were dancing and karaoke in bars around kawempe under the influence of crude waragi, smoking tobacco, kuber; she says there are seeds she fries and pounds that are used as tea leaves, mairungi so all these were taken to keep awake till the next morning. In the process, Loy met another friend that provided accommodation though it was a one roomed house and congested with other relatives. Loy was not comfortable there so she saved sixty thousand shillings from commercial sex work to rent her own house in Bwaise (kumwala) a street in kimombasa zone. Even when Loy got her own room, she entirely depended on sex work and in the process of using drugs, Loy always did not remember how many men she was with and some did not pay or even use condoms so this left her positive with HIV/AIDS with two children of which she does not know their fathers.
Loy was identified by social workers from UYDEL during community mobilization so they referred her to kawala hospital where she would receive HIV/AIDS treatment. From her experience, Loy has learnt that alcohol and other drugs do not add anything constructive to someone apart from avoiding shyness to call for customers, being violent inform of engaging in fights. When Loy looks back, among the peers she partied with, she is the only one alive since others died due to HIV/AIDS and also regrets not having gone to school. Loy’s life changed completely ever since she joined UYDEL in 2010 and learnt hairdressing so she now plaits hair and works on customers on her verandah as she is saving to get a saloon, she has a chart of her own, she is engaged in a circle with a group of friends who rotate money among themselves and now has got a sponsor for one of her children as she is paying fees for another, last year Loy went to the Netherlands to tell her testimony under a UYDEL program. This is a motivation since she has never thought of going abroad.
Loy urges the youth to keep in school if they have a chance and if not, they should engage in vocational skills instead of commercial sex or any form of exploitation. In all the above she thanks UYDEL for the services they offer since it is mainly through the sessions that were carried out by social workers on reproductive health that helped her realize the risks associated to drugs and more knowledge on HIV/AIDS.
I recommended her for the transformation and effort, more so encouraged her to stay away from bad peers and drugs.