People often ask us….why only boys? The answer: almost all street kids here in Lira are boys. Boys are more likely to have the opportunity to run away from home if they are abused and girls are more likely to get swept off the streets into informal labor if they are there. The nature of that labor is the upsetting part, servitude, prostitution…
Meet the exception…
Z is for Zubedah!
Zubedah was referred to us by CRO, a day center for street kids in Lira Town. She had run away from an alcoholic mother and had been on the street for a month pretending to be a boy. She even had the staff at CRO fooled.
CRO tried to take her home, but her mother became drunk and abusive again and Zubedah returned to the street. Again, pretending to be a boy. Now Zubedah is no mini damsel in distress. This plucky little lady is definitely top dog and she can make boys much older than her cower. Did I mention she’s rather sassy? But she is only 10 years old. On the street, pretending to be a boy at 10 years old.
The street is no place for any child. But the obvious risks faced by a girl on the street of any age make the situation all the more dangerous. When we got wind of Zubedah and her situation we immediately approached CRO with a proposition. Girls should not be on the street. Period. When street girls pass through CRO from here on out they will be immediately referred to Atin Afrika.
Zubedah is a cheeky little lady. When others are shy to ask, she isn’t. She works hard, she bosses the boys around as she helps them with their chores and although she is the quintessential tomboy she loves to put on the dress Morris bought her for weekends.
She will run and throw herself into your arms when you enter the gate, but if you cross her watch out for her scowl!
We will keep Zubedah for as long as it takes for CRO to work with her family. When home is a safe place for her she will return there, but for now we love her and she is a part of our family.
Welcome to Atin Afrika Zubedah xo.