Dorice Achieng, 24, who hails from Uyoma is a mother of two aged nine and seven years old respectively. She was raised by a single mother after her father died in 1999 when she was five years old. The demise of their father left their mother to struggle to fend for her and her older brother. The father died while she was still young and hardly remembers bonding with him.
“My mother struggled to ensure she puts food on the table and takes us to school. Even though I was young, I noticed that she was straining to take care of us. No one was helping her and so when I got to form two, it was too much for her and I had to drop out of school. We were so poor the poor called us poor. By that time my brother had dropped out of school and moved away from home to try and get a casual job,” narrated Dorice
At 14 years she was forced to work in neighbors farms and do odd jobs to help her to compliment the little the mother was getting from the odd jobs.
“An older woman, who was our neighbor, befriend me and kept asking me to get a married to salvage my family but I did not understand what she meant. Finally she asked me to go visit her and once there she asked me to accompany her to Bondo Town to meet someone who would take care of me and my family. Little did I know it was a trip meant to take me to elope with my estrange husband. The woman left me in the man’s house and he was very carrying and sweet to me. It did not take me long to get pregnant and have my first born at 15 years,” explained Dorice
All this while, she never told her mother and brother where she was. Her nightmare begun when she got the baby. The husband became openly promiscuous and would bringing other women in their home to spend the night in their bed. Whenever she tried to oppose, she would be beaten, verbally abused and chased out of the house. She describes her life as very dark and sad. Dorice believed that her destiny was to stay in the abusive marriage begging the husband to take care of her.
“I tried to reach out to the woman who had introduced me to him, but she told me to stop complaining and make the marriage work. I felt hopeless. I thought that was marriage and I stayed on and got another baby and things got worse. He could leave us hungry for days and it made me to go to my brother to beg for assistance. He gave me some food and 700 worth of Omena which I sold for profit. I also decided to leave my husband and took my two children to live with my brother. A month later, in 2015, I got my own place and luckily, I was enrolled in DREAMS where I was trained on Financial Capabilities, SASA, Gender Based Violence at Ajulu Salvation Church (Safe Space), All these made me to decide to work to be the best entrepreneur,” said Dorice
After three years, she finally had the courage to leave the abusive marriage but since she was unstable she would sometimes consider going back to the marriage hoping that the man could change. She says neighbours and friends discouraged her from joining DREAMS citing that it was an illuminati movement meant to exploit girls but she is glad she did not pay attention to them. DREAMS gave her hope and a belief that she can do anything she wants to do if only she puts her mind in it.
“I was and still am motivated by being called a DREAMS girl. As a DREAMS girl, I also got cash transfer of 4000 after two month which helped me in starting my potato chips business in Arero Village, North Sakwa Ward. After writing a proposal, I won a grant of 10,000 that helped me to expand the business. Currently, I have employed three girls who I pay 150 each per day to help me in my chips business. In a day I make a profit of 550 which allows me to pay house rent of 5,000, pay school fees for my children in a private school and live a decent life. In future I will open a restaurant that will be selling delicious and authentic African dishes. Long live DREAMS,” concluded Dorice.