“What does Reintegration look like for a Young Girl who has lost Hope but find Hope in a unconvetional way???”
“Amusa” (20) has been on the streets for the past 4 years. uMthombo journeyed with “Amusa” during outreach sessions as well as in our Girls Programme. It has not been an easy process to work with her, looking at her adoptive background, her living on the streets and being hooked into number substances and almost immune to street life. Although difficult as it was, she religiously attended various psychosocial sessions aimed at empowering young women, helping them make life giving choices for their lives, which could lead to being independent.
In these years various attempts were made to reintegrate “Amusa” with her adoptive family but these failed due to a total collapse of relations with her adoptive mother, who was no longer supportive to her. In addition to this, her behavioral challenges made matters worse even when placed at a girl’s place of safety. Her life seemed to be going on a downward spiral and then she disappeared late November 2018 and could no longer be seen or collected at her usual spot.
Later in the year just before the summer holiday break, “Amusa” took an initiative to contact the Girls Programme Facilitator to inform about her whereabouts. She informed the facilitator that she took a decision of living the streets after she had found a boyfriend who is a taxi driver. The boyfriend took an interest in her life story, after she had confided in him and he wanted to know more and how he could offer further assistance to her. The Girls Programme Facilitator took this invitation to engage with him and ascertain her safety, since she had taken her own initiative to live with the boyfriend’s family in the western township of the city. By this time
“Amusa” misuse of substances had been dealt with assisted by her boyfriend’s family.
Regular contact and psychosocial sessions were undertaken with “Amusa”, the boyfriend and family for the past 11 months and it appears that all is still in favor of “Amusa”.
The support she has been given and the home she has found for herself, has in a way changed her outlook to life. Currently, efforts are being made to make contact with “Amusa” adoptive mother in order to mend their relationship and sort a way forward as she begins a process of re-establishing her life.
As uMthombo we carefully supporting this type of moving forward or steps towards care & opening to some sort of security, it is done with great caution, understanding the dynamics that are at play in terms “Amusa’s” safety and overall wellbeing. Undivided attention in monitoring her current living arrangements is crucial, ongoing individual support and tailor-made psychosocial sessions to empower “Amusa” in her current lifestyle will be imperative. This is to ensure that her chosen lived experiences well balanced and that when she feels unease and encounters challenges in the future, she able to make life giving choices for herself.
…..Steps in redefining what reintegration might look like for individual Adolescent Girls and Young Women who are street-connected…..