Being a parent means more than just giving birth to a child. The mama (Swahili for mother) ploughs the fields with her baby on her back. The buba (Swahili for father) labours, putting in a hard days work to bring home food. The mama walks miles upon miles to collect water for her family. Being a parent establishes a relational connection unlike any other.

Sadly, sometimes these connections get broken and children are admitted into our care for various reasons. While it is painful in the times when they are admitted - we get excited when we see the restorations happen because: Our family programmes work! Through our Family Strengthening Programmes, we target disadvantaged families not only to prevent breakdown in families, but also to restore and reintegrate children back into loving families when the connections are broken.

This month, we saw celebrated one such reintegration!

Background: A little over a year ago, Esther* entered our Urgent Rescue Centre. At the time, we did not know how to communicate this story - it was beyond tragic. Specifically, Esther’s case was brought to our attention by the local Children's Department one evening, when our Case Manager received a call asking whether we had a bed for an emergency case. Through our intake process it became clear the child had been a victim of severe sexual abuse. She was six years old.

Thankfully, we were able to accommodate her and give her protection at our Urgent Rescue Centre. While providing loving, restorative care to her, we also facilitated counselling and therapy services for her mother, strengthening her ability to care for her child. Simultaneously, we worked with local authorities to ensure the perpetrator (who was a family member) would no longer be a threat.

It has been a long and hard journey at times, but this month, we are seeing the fruit of our labour! While the process is not done yet, as we will play a part in advocating for her justice and continue to support her and her family emotionally as long as there is need (our team will be doing regular visits over until she is no longer vulnerable), we wanted to note this incredible milestone.

Sadly, Esther's story is not the only one - but stories like this also remind us of why it's important that we play our part in the fight for every childhood: We were able to RESCUE, REHABILITATE and this month REINTEGRATE her back into a loving family member’s home! Indeed, even though Esther and her family have experienced incredibly difficult times, we share their stories because we believe they offer hope and inspiration that someone does care, and with the right support - lives can be turned around and transformed.

As we are working to break the silence around child sexual abuse and give children a voice when they desperately need support, we want to invite you to be part of the process. We cannot do it without people like you! If you would like to be part of this process and help us change lives please consider donating here. We cannot do it without people like you!

*Name changed to protect identity.

Kelly StrongComment