My name is Shillah, 24 a student at Makerere University. I have lived in Ntinda with my aunty as my caretaker since the death of my father; I was 9 when he died. She tells me my mum died when I was 3 years old.
I have a problem that began like a simple habit. Back in A-level  I yearned to change my status by taking what other girls had. I began by taking their pocket money and when no one noticed, I would take other things like phones and any other fancy stuff they had. I would sell them cheaply to my friends during the holidays.
On a number of occasions, I wouldn’t be caught because I played it smart leaving no evidence to point at me. But sometimes I wasn’t always lucky, and whenever I was caught, I was embarrassed on assembly in-front of the whole school.
At times, the school principle would send for my aunty and when she came, the teachers were asked to beat me up. Am now at the university I have been caught twice stealing my roommates’ phones. One let it pass but the other beat me up so badly that I gave the phone back.
When I am not at it, I feel bad about taking other people’s things and I would like to give it up but another thought crosses my mind to keep it going because I can quickly get what I don’t have. I have lost so many friends and now know what a police cell is like.
My night in the police cell began with the stealing of my best friend’s phone. Stella is the only friend I have at the university but I was tempted to steal her smart phone. When she realized it was gone, everybody pointed a figure at me and denying it did not save me much. And when the heat was too much, I decided to throw the phone in the latrine.
The hostel warden was called in and she took us to police station where I was forced to speak out. The police called my Aunty. She got so furious that she asked the officers to lock me up for the night. She had been forced to pay 250,000 for the phone.
She then asked the police to lock me up for the night. That long night behind bars is a lesson to me and now I want to quit stealing. I have lost friends and now I have nicknames like “zubii with slungs:”oyo akolela mukono munsayo” all to mean a thief.
I really want to stop but I don’t know how to. I need help.
Shillah needs assistance, can you give her any?
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