Making a decision to start living with his 18-year-old girlfriend, along with having a distorted image of marriage, was the beginning of Lawrence’s trials. The young man grew up in a polygamous family with an alcoholic, abusive father, who usually assaulted his mother in his presence.

After their first child, Lawrence began coming home late and drunk.

He beat his partner, Teddy, who on several occasions had no food to serve him since he had not provided for such. With the situation getting worse, Teddy began looking out for another partner in the hope of a better life.

While on one of his drinking routines at a trading center, Lawrence heard a story about Alex Odong. Alex is a thriving young family man who was doing better economically and family-wise due to his involvement in the Teopok Father’s Club. The Father’s Club is an initiative by Bright Hope at one of the local churches that brings together and grooms responsible and caring fathers.

Taken by Julius Caeser January, 2021.

Despite his past, Lawrence was eager to learn more about the Father’s Clubs and how he could save his already deteriorating family.

In January 2020, he joined a group of other men, who gathered at an experience-sharing meeting of different Father’s Clubs from several local churches in the Oyam District. A lot was shared but the story of Alex Odong was a turning point in his life. He went home and apologized to his wife for all the wrongs he had done and vowed to begin a new chapter in their lives.

“I went with the aim of scheming to get whatever was being given out and then I’d go home, but little did I know that I was going to have my life completely changed. Father’s Club has given me focus with a future I never cared to see or have,” said Lawrence.

Lawrence began frequenting the church and asked church leaders to allow for the formation of a Father’s Club there. His request was granted and, together with other men, they went through training on family cohesion and parenting, which he says has really helped him change for the better.

“You will never find me at the center drinking and wasting time; I love my wife and care for her as well as our children. the children now run to me when I come home from the garden and we spend a lot of time together. All these things were strange to me at first, but Father’s Club has taught me to embrace them for the betterment of my family,” said Lawrence.

A picture of Lawerence. Taken by Julius Caeser in January, 2021.

Teddy, who was planning on finding another partner, put those ambitions to rest forever and the couple is now focused on making their marriage work. They are planning to get married officially this year and also developing their family economically.

Lawrence and his family. Taken by Julius Caeser in January, 2021.

Lawrence and Teddy planted a garden of soya beans and maize (corn), which gave them a good harvest. They have paid for bricks to be made for their new house and they were also one of the many families that received two pigs each through Bright Hope’s family empowerment program. The couple also plans to expand their piggery project in the future.