One month to her release, Laila was advised by a colleague inside the prison that she could find shelter at the Wells of Hope Women Safe Home, this was because she had shared her fears during their prayer meeting that she was more worried about the day she was set to be released because she was not ready to reunite with her family whom she separated from a couple of years ago when she moved to the city in pursuit of work. It was at her new job where she had spent two months that she ended up spending 16 months in jail after she lost some money belonging to her employer.
Laila was able to confide in an officer in prison that she wanted to send a message to Wells of Hope showing intentions of being housed at the safe home upon release. The officer who promised to send the message did not and on the day of release Laila just stayed at the prison gate waiting to be picked by the social worker from Wells of Hope; this was until one of the coordinators in the prison approached her to find out why she hadn’t left and Laila informed her that she was waiting to be picked.
Shiphrah Nantongo, Wells of Hope Women Safe Home Administrator sharing a photo with Laila
This was three days after the country had been put under a 42-day lockdown to curb the spread of COVID 19 and all forms of transport had been stopped.
The coordinator was able to contact the safe home to confirm what Laila had said and unfortunately they had not been informed by the officer that had promised Laila that she would communicate a month ago!!
Measures were put in place and Laila was safely driven to the safe home. In her own words, Laila shared that she had a sister who lived in Jinja 90kms East of the country and a father who stays in Mbarara over 200kms West part of the country. She could not access both relatives given the ban on transportation and did not know what else she could have done if she was not taken into the Wells of Hope Women Safe home.
‘Right now all I need is a place that can make me forget the prison life and someone that can understand what I am going through. I will then join my family when I can,’ asserted the 21-year-old Laila.!
Laila is currently residing at the safe home and awaits for the ban on transportation to be lifted so that she can be able to reunite with her family whom she has only been able to talk to on phone.