Jacinta lives with her husband and children in Tororo, Uganda. Her incredible story of courage is best told in her own words:
The day you walked into the village, I did not know what to think. No one had ever come to our place before. Give Us Wings people seemed so kind. You sat with us on the ground and listened to our problems.
I was in the bottom of my life when you came. I married so young because I could not go to school. I had to find a man so that I would not burden on my family.
Something brought Isaac and me together. Things were all right at first. He even taught me to read. But after the three babies came he changed. He started to drink. I struggled to grow food but we were always hungry. My youngest child got diarrhea at age two and died in my arms. I cried every night until my tears washed me to sleep. I got very sick.
That is when Give Us Wings came. I went to tailoring class that you set up in a small hut. The instructor told me I had talent. Isaac was jealous and would beat me after I returned from class. But I went anyway.
I started to make a little money sewing things for people in town. I showed Give Us Wings the batiks that Isaac makes. You thought of ways he could sell them. You saw that I had bruises from a beating. You met with Isaac and me and told us about people who could help us with our problems.
Isaac and I went to meetings and to counseling. He really began to change. We were tested and are HIV positive. Isaac did not want to believe it but Give Us Wings counseled us and we both are living positively.
I kept going to trainings. One was about making jewelry out of recycled paper. Give Us Wings gave me a business loan and books about color and design. Isaac and I studied the books together. The books helped his artwork, also. We realized that one thing that brought us together was our love of beauty.
We were almost dead inside and outside. Now we are alive. We live in a little mud home we built just outside of town so that we can sell our crafts and artwork. I do tailoring also and Isaac picks up day jobs. Our children are in school. We are happy.
Other couples come to us when they are struggling. We talk with them – tell them about the places that helped us. We have wings that are strong enough to carry other people now. Many come back to us and tell us they are okay now and say thank you. Every time they do, I say thank you in my heart to Give Us Wings.
You saved my life, my family, and my self-respect. I now help other women and their families when they are going through the worst of times. It is the only way I know how to say thank you.