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Samson was just three years old when his mother left him and his father in Tanzania, East Africa.

The family grew after his dad, a pastor, remarried and Samson now has three step-sisters and a step-brother. But it was not easy for Samson. He stopped going to school and the relationship between him and his dad was increasingly difficult and volatile.

They didn’t know how to communicate well and eventually Samson decided they couldn’t live together anymore and he would be better off on the streets of Mwanza. At the age of just 13 he ran away from home.

The violent reality of life on the streets

In the dangerous and hostile environment, Samson had nowhere to stay and nowhere safe to go. He risked constant violence and abuse and only survived through begging. Older boys on the streets regularly beat him and stole anything he had but Samson was now worried about what his family would say or do if he went back home so he felt trapped into life on Mwanza’s streets.

Finding a safe place to stay

Luckily one of our outreach workers spotted Samson and persuaded him to visit our day centre. Here he was made safe and reassured before being found a safe place to stay in a boys’ home we work with.

Finally he had the clean clothes, food, support and safe environment he needed.

The team gave Samson access to education and slowly gained his trust enough for him to talk to family workers about his problems. They contacted Samson’s dad and visited him, soon deciding that father and son would both be happier together and that they could help rebuild that strong bond.

Rebuilding the relationship between father and son

Samson now spends more and more time back at home with his family while they work to resolve the issues that drove him away in the first place.

Our teams visit every week and deliver therapy sessions to get the whole family engaged and involved in rebuilding their relationships.

In one of these the outreach worker organised a game in which Samson had to face away from his father while giving him instructions on how to draw something. It didn’t take long for Samson and his dad to realise the importance of little things like making eye contact and communicating properly with each other.