Karen’s Story

At the end of each school day, Karen aged 15, would fetch water, cook, collect firewood and clean for her brother’s household. When she discovered her brother planned to force her into an early marriage, she fled.

Karen boarded a bus to Kampala to escape and hoped she would be able to find a means of survival. While in Kampala, Karen ended up sleeping on the street until Retrak’s outreach team found her.

At Bulamu Transition Centre, Karen was provided with the protection, shelter, food, clothing and medical care she needed.

In preperation for her return to family based care, the social worker engaged the family and community leaders in a dialogue on the issues of forced child marriage. Karen was then placed with her grandparents.

However, in the second follow-up, it became clear that Karen’s grandparents were lying to the social workers. Karen was no longer living with them as they had arranged an early marriage. The grandfather was paid an equivalent of £200 by the husband’s family.

Following counselling, Karen opened up to the social workers and told them she was four months pregnant and had dropped out of the training Retrak had provided. Retrak are continuing to support Karen and have provided her with a tailoring machine so she can learn at home.