In 2017 St Mary’s supported Betty Nalubega as a student at Kira Farm in Uganda. After completing her year at Kira she has now been back home for a year and has put her Kira training to good use. Here is a report written by Joshua, who runs Kira Farm, who visited Betty towards the end of 2018.
From Prostitute to Youth Minister
Once strangled and
left for dead, today Betty Nalubega is truly a new creation
‘After my parents died the only thing I looked forward to in
life was my own death,’ admits Betty.
‘My childhood had been a happy one until I started losing my
family. We couldn’t believe it when my two siblings died within the space of
two years – we were all devastated, but my parents mourned the most.’
‘My parents were so distracted by their grief it felt like
they didn’t care about me,’ Betty says. ‘They never celebrated the fact I was
still with them and it made me wish I would die, so that would recognise that I
also had life.’
Desperate to get her parents attention, Betty started acting
out – stealing money and refusing to do any work. ‘They barely noticed, or
sometimes they said something negative that hurt me even more.’
When Betty’s parents passed away she was embraced by the
local church and gave her life to Christ, but she was still in great pain and
felt deeply unloved and lonely.
A spirit of death
Soon after, she met a boy in church who promised to marry her.
‘Before the wedding happened he got me pregnant,’ says Betty.
‘Because he was a minister in the church he was told to
marry me, but he refused, saying he would end up dead if he took me as his
wife. He claimed I had a spirit of death following me and that’s why I’d lost
all my family.’
Betty says the words of her boyfriend hurt even more than
the loss of her family. ‘I left the church and was alone in the responsibility
of taking care of my son, Lawrence.’
‘I tried a number of jobs but I couldn’t make enough money
to sustain myself and my child so I resorted to prostitution,’ Betty explains.
‘It was a painful decision because I knew it was wrong in God’s eyes, but the
more it provided food on the table, the easier it became to do.’
Over time Betty began to believe that she really did have a
spirit of death. ‘I knew I was going to die any time, so even while I was
working as a prostitute I didn’t worry about using protection because the
dangers I faced every day were more of a threat than HIV.’
The young girl’s fears weren’t misplaced. ‘One time a man
nearly killed me when I asked him for my payment – he strangled me and left me
for dead. In the morning I was picked up by friends who were doing the same job
and dumped at the church which was taking care of my son.’
The church pastor took pity on Betty and gave her a job as a
house girl, later connecting her with Amigos.
Cleansed from the
On arrival at Kira Farm all students are given a thorough
medical check-up. ‘I wasn’t shocked
when I discovered I was HIV positive because I had been living a very tough
life,’ says Betty. Instead of seeing this as a setback, Betty was determined to
embrace everything Kira had to offer.
‘My life on Kira was a time of cleansing from the inside
out,’ she smiles. ‘I’d been carrying the guilt of all the horrible things I had
done in the past, but the love and discipleship training I experienced on Kira
helped me to love myself and let go of that guilt.’
Betty acquired life-saving vocational skills whilst at Kira
Farm. ‘Thanks to the training my thinking changed. It gave me hope and made me
want to live a long life because I knew I could use my skills to provide a
decent future for myself and my son.’
A new life
When Betty returned home after 12 months at Kira Farm, she
hit the ground running.
‘I never imagined I could support myself and my son without
having to depend on anyone, but with my new skills I can,’ she beams. ‘I can’t
believe I’m saying this, but life is getting better every day!’
Betty found the training she’d received in business skills
particularly beneficial and promptly set up a samosa and chapatti making
With her new-found confidence and business nous, Betty
secured three contracts supplying snacks to local schools. With the profits she
made she was able to open up a small café.
Today Betty earns over £65 a month and has created employment
for two local girls – a real gift to a community where there is no work for
Keen to diversify her income, Betty decided to put into
practise her new hairdressing skills.
‘At first there were some women who knew about my past and
weren’t comfortable with me plaiting their hair,’ explains Betty. ‘I couldn’t
blame them because they remembered the old me and I was horrible. Thankfully,
over time, people have started loving me and believing in me.’
Betty now has a good customer base and is making nearly £20
a month from hairdressing alone.
Today this entrepreneurial God-fearing young woman is making
four times more money than she ever did in sex work.
‘I once was a prostitute, but today I am a minister in the
church and I am using my journey of transformation to encourage the youth,’ she
‘I am so happy I can pay for my son’s school fees with money
that comes from a proper business, it’s something that fills me with joy.’
‘Thank you so much to Amigos for making me a better person,
and to my sponsors, St Mary’s Church, Wythall – you have helped changed my