By Esther Nakkazi
Anna Freda Musimeta has just given birth to a beautiful bouncing baby boy called Joshua Mubangizi. She is seventeen years old. The father of her one-month-old baby boy is a twenty-one-year-old, senior four student at a school in Ibanda district. Eric Mubangizi is her ‘boyfriend’.
When she moved to Kampala to live with her auntie, in Kasubi Zone 3, Rubaga Division, Anna Freda was working in a bar. One day she had to go back to her village in Ibanda where she briefly linked up with her boyfriend. Just that one time and she got pregnant but she was not aware.
When she returned to Kampala, she was selected as one of the youth in the area to benefit from training and gain skills from the Masooli vocational skills and rehabilitation center. Godfrey Kidela, the chairman in Zone 3 identified her as one of the young girls with a potential to better their lives after the PREFA project that aims to end Commercial Sex Exploitation of Children (CSEC) asked him to identify them.
According to Dr. Bernadette Ssebadduka the PREFA executive director, the project aims to engage urban authorities and local governments to prevent and respond to commercial sexual exploitation of children in greater Kampala and Wakiso districts.
The project has two dimensions; advocacy and identification, rehabilitation and re-integration of victims of CSEC. It is funded by the Netherlands based Terre Des Hommes and Girls’ Advocacy Alliance.The project is implemented in partnership with Uganda Youth Development Link (UYDEL), with PREFA as the lead partner.
Anna Freda learned hairdressing and studies that can enhance her development in Masoli. She also enjoyed her time there very much. It was at Masoli that she realized that something was wrong when she missed her periods.
“The skills I learned will help me sustain myself and the baby,” says Anna Freda who can now ably plait and style hair. She hopes to look for a job in a Saloon after her maternity leave ends.
Before Masoli, Anna Freda used to work in a bar and used to engage in all sorts of risky behavior. But she is changed now.
“I was taught some manners too and I do not want to go back to my old lifestyle,” says the young mother. Having lost both her parents she knows it is not an easy walk to raise a child, especially with its father now still in school and with no income to contribute.
She is aware that it will be ‘one man’ show but is determined to give little Joshua the best and support him with all for a better future than hers. Joshua will be different and a winner, she says.