Positive Thinking: Lakareber Catherine
An important part of the empowerment journey is the mental change that people undergo as they move from vulnerability to well-being. Attitude change, although hard to measure and difficult to quantify, plays a crucial role in a person’s ability to empower themselves. People must believe in their capacities to change their lives if they are actually going to do it. We have a saying here at KKi, "Positive thinking is a prerequisite to positive change." No person is a better example of this than Lakareber Catherine. When Catherine was 13 years old, she developed a strange sickness that she believes was a result of witchcraft. The sickness affected her mental stability by making her angry and standoffish all the time. Looking back, Catherine sees a woman filled with anger who was ready to fight if the smallest thing didn’t sit right with her. Her negative attitude ostracized her from friends and family and left her feeling alone and stressed. “I had lost hope about many issues in life. I was always ready to fight anyone including my co-workers. My attitude affected my ability to work, which made life even more difficult. My children lacked so much and these thoughts made me even more stressed.” Catherine's innate capacity was shackled by her anger and fear. Catherine’s story doesn't end there though. Her transformation is a testament to the power that relationships have to empower. When she joined Krochet Kids Uganda (KKU) her mentor, Lydia, recognized immediately that Catherine was someone who needed extra care. Lydia, along with a few other staff members, went above and beyond to make sure that Catherine felt loved. They poured out encouragement on her and constantly reminded her of all the positive things she was doing. Eventually, the self-hate that Catherine carried with her for most of her life made way for a new self-image defined by worth and capacity. “Life has become extremely good compared to before. Physically, mentally and spiritually I am healthier. My children are happy too. They laugh more often with me because their basic needs are met.” She has hope for the future, as evidenced by the savings she has in the KKU savings and credit association. After the program, she plans on using her savings to start a small farm. Already, she is planting vegetables on family land, bringing in money and food to the household. Like all of us, Catherine’s transformation is an unfinished one. She still has a year left and many goals still to accomplish at KKU, but the foundation is set for that change to build on. Catherine’s attitude opens up a whole new realm of possibility. Now, Lydia and Catherine can spend the next year finalizing her plan for after the program in confidence rather than in fear of the unknown.