For the girl child with a child.

On a Friday morning I sat on a boda boda heading to Busega. It was a safe boda but I wasn’t wearing a helmet. The strap of the helmet was broken. It kept going sideways on my head. I decided after adjusting it every two seconds that it wasn’t worth messing up my pony tail. I felt so reckless sitting on that boda for the stretch of highway that is the Northern bypass and the side effects set in. Paranoia that every vehicle coming towards us was going to kill me, an itchy body and teary eyes. When I got to my destination I was suffering from both relief and a congested chest. Call me a boda boda survivor.
My destination was the Remnant Generation. (It is not an establishment run by the famous prophet). It is a teenage pregnancy crisis center and home to young girls (none above 18 years) who are either pregnant or already mothers, out of school and abandoned by their families. This is the story of the woman behind this place.
I met Anabelle at the Tuwezwshe Akina Dada feminist leadership training, organised by AMWA and Forward UK sometime in July. On the first day of the week long training, during introductions she mentioned the type of work she does and I wasn’t as amazed as I was curious why she chose that line of work. It sounded depressing but she looked fabulous. She had the nicest clothes and her skin was glowing. (I should ask her to share her skin care routine).
I attempted to get to know her but she was the famous kid in school. Her breakfast, lunch, and dinner table was always full and the one time I succeeded in finding a seat on her table, she was done eating while I was starting.
I was desperate to get details about her work, of rescuing and taking care of teenage mothers so bad and the Lord in his wonderful mysterious ways listened. As part of the training we took a field trip to the Remnant Generation. Let’s just say I didn’t get any details that day because I was an emotional wreck the entire time we were there.
The girls that Anabelle and her team take care of have been through the most violent forms of sexual and gender based violence. From victims of rape to incest to child marriage and failed abortions. Tears and a running nose were the only reaction I could master at the time.
When I made the trip to do this story on Anabelle I was better prepared but I carried my hankie just in case. I wanted her to start from the beginning. The lazy question of, “what inspired you to start?” to which she responded, “How much time do you have?” I had all day but she didn’t. And in the one hour and 22 minutes we talked, I advised her to write a book. Consider this a quick preview into Anabelle Nakabiri’s book. Executive Director, accountant, mother of two and about 120 others. Her passion is for the girl child with a child.
She is the 6th born of her mother’s children but she can’t say for sure which position she holds among her Muslim father’s children. She raised her siblings when her mother couldn’t take the abuse in the marriage any more. Her mother instructed her to do so before she left. At 13 years she wasn’t going to school.
“The time I grew up girl child education wasn’t a priority. All my older sisters had been married off and whenever there was a choice to pay school fees for a girl or boy, the boys got the money”.
So I asked how exactly she took care of her siblings.
“I used to go to peoples gardens and dig in exchange for some food. This is the work that my mother and I did together before she left”.
Heading a family and dealing with a step mother isn’t the only abuse she suffered as a child. She was 14 when she was sexually abused by a close family member He raped her and threatened her life if she ever told anyone.
“I had to go on like nothing had happened but at that point I resented my mother for leaving me but I was also determined to find her especially when I discovered that there was a plan to marry me off to a Sheikh who used to come home and bring some groceries.”
The good news is she found her mother and reunited at last, they hatched a plan to rescue her siblings.
“It was like prison break. We stayed in a house where we paid 3,000 shillings as rent.
My mom worked at a school where my siblings attended primary. And together we worked in gardens of some of the teachers that stayed in our neighborhood.
It has been a lot of hard work getting where she is. When she went to Secondary school, she got a full scholarship up to Senior Six for academic excellence and was a part of the school’s music dance and drama team. She danced and sang to make a living with a group of friends from school. Have you seen the dancers who welcome state guests at the airport? Well, that was her life for a moment.
Anabelle can’t say exactly when her journey to rescue teenage mothers started.
“I had a one roomed house when I started working and before I knew it I was staying with nine girls.” At the height of her corporate job in 2015, she quit to start what is now the Remnant Generation.
“With what money I ask?”
“I knocked on doors, asked my friends for donations and used my husband’s ATM whenever I had it. I started from our sitting room, to a tiny office to the current house we occupy. In fact all this furniture (and it is very nice furniture) that we are using was donated by Nina Interiors. I walked in, told them about the work we do and how we really needed office furniture and they gave it to us”.
Now beautiful jewelry made with kitengi or what we call African fabric lying on the tables in the office is part of the sustainability project.

Photo Credit: Shanine
Additionally, they make liquid soap. They still rely heavily on grants and donations and doing fundraising from people and organizations who acknowledge that the work they do is important.
Girls are sent to her by police, recommendations from other teenage pregnancy crisis centers and individuals who have heard about their work.
They come in pregnant. They receive counselling and antenatal care. For some of them who are lucky to be accepted back home, they facilitate a smooth transition. They also get hair dressing and tailoring skills while at the remnant generation in a program called, “School of purpose”. I had them style my dreadlocks on my first visit and I can say the future of the salon business is bright.
Anabelle’s story can’t fit in a blog. Not one at least. I mentioned to her my ulterior motive which is to share stories o of extra ordinary young women and celebrate their work and she was kind and gracious to let her story be part of it. I am extending an opportunity for you to be kind and gracious as well and head on to their website and see how you can help. You may not have donor money but you like jewelry or know someone does. Or you may know a place where they could supply liquid soap or an opportunity they can take advantage of. Or you can share this to as many platforms as the generosity of the internet has allowed you to have. Contribute to her story and maybe she will give you a shout out when she writes that book.

Comments

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      Fionah Komusana

      Tuts, you really are just my cheerleader and I appreciate you.
      For reading, sharing, cheering.
      Today and everyday.
      How is being a Musummer treating you?

  2. Isaac Mulindwa

    Not for the shout out but i like the story, i identify with the struggle even when i have not gone through such hardship. Life in its generosity has allowed me the extra ordinary opportunity to view it through multiple lenses, i have been to the peak of privilege and at the bottom of despair. i now rest somewhere in between, its not comfy here but its fine. I’ll share this story. Thank you for showing us this amazing soul. Send my love and prayers to all

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      Fionah Komusana

      Hahahahaha not for the shout out?
      But what if Anabelle wants to give you a shout out?
      Jokes aside, thank you for reading and sharing a bit of your experience with us and offering to continue sharing the story.
      The more the merrier.
      Thank you again.

  3. Nemvicx

    This story is awesome and moving. It makes me think about that more and more. We need to be that helpful and considerate. Women are going through a lot here with so much exploitation and abuse and to have a rescue village around is another grace. Thanks for the story.

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      Fionah Komusana

      First of all, I really like your email address. thecompletely? What’s the story.
      Also thank you for reading and leaving your thoughts.
      I appreciate your time.

  4. AtimMercy

    Wow! This has touched me. Such a beautiful story of grass to grace and to eventually giving hope to those who have lost it…. I like that she didn’t have to “have it all” to start. She just started!. Inspiration right there. Thanks for sharing.

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