u-turn 25 birthday

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world”. Ephraim Galetta represents this statement.

When you look at Ephraim now, you will see a responsible father of five, holding down a job as an apprentice technician at an established air conditioning company. It is hard to believe that there was a time when he was locked on the streets, in and out of prison and estranged from his family.

In 2014, Ephraim had just come through drug rehabilitation and says: “I wasn’t ready to manage myself, my life and my money.” He was introduced to U-turn by someone who was already on our Life Change programme.

Looking back at the four years he spent with U-turn, he says, “There were big changes in my life”. Perhaps the greatest change was seen in his relationship with his girlfriend of 15 years and mother of his child: “We started smiling and seeing eye-to-eye. I started getting visitation rights to see my son.”

While at U-turn they married and many of U-turn staff were there to celebrate with them: “This support from the staff meant a lot to me. For the first time I had people walking alongside of me.”

The skills that Ephraim learnt while on the programme helped him into his current job, most notably the managerial skills he learnt on the job, the certified junior business management course he recently passed and his driving license. He now drives a company bakkie for the air conditioning company. “From trolley pusher to car driver!  That’s a major change!” he proudly tells us.

Ephraim says his character has been shaped and his integrity restored by U-turn and by the support of people like Jerry Mboweni, Ephraim’s sponsor and mentor at Living Hope. “They taught me to fish for myself.  For a long time I used to hold out my hand for handouts.  This kept me stuck for twelve years. U-turn gave me a platform to achieve little goals but it also set big ones as well.  Now I can be independent and depend on myself.  I can take responsibility not only for myself but also for my family.”

Ephraim’s transformation is helping others. He was approached by a young boy in his community recently, who said, “I can see that God really works”. The boy had seen Ephraim struggling with addiction, and it gave him hope to face his own struggles.

The journey wasn’t always easy and he acknowledges that hard work is not over. His advice to anyone else venturing on the journey of transformation is: “Push through.  Believe in yourself. Lay down structures. Lay down boundaries.  Never let anyone tell you can’t be what you want to achieve in life… as long as I have God in my boat I can do anything I set my mind to.”

Today Ephraim is a facilitator in a drug counselling programme at his church and one of his long-term goals is to become a drug counselor to help guide others to be the change they want to see in the world by putting God first.