One of the great initiatives our partners in Kenya do is to monitor at risk children and ensure that they stay in school. Funds permitting they will provide support for household and education expenses. One of the biggest defences against child trafficking is keeping kids engaged and enthusiastic about school.
We were keen to learn more during our recent trip to Kenya and we were taken to meet Nancy a 15 year old girl and her mother. Prior to visiting Nancy we were told her heartbreaking and sickening back story.
Nancy lives with her mother in a simple small home mad of mud and coral with a tin roof. There is no electricity and no furniture except for the beds that they sleep in and we use the term bed loosely. Being a single parent Nancy’s mother would work often leaving Nancy to go to school and come home by herself afterwards as is the norm in Kenya. At the age of 7 Nancy was set upon by a local paedophile and was abused over a long period of time. This poor child was raped, beaten and sodomised regularly for a long time until her mother learnt the shocking truth.
Thankfully the perpetrator was apprehended, and with the support of our partners, is currently serving a 20 year sentence for his vile acts against Nancy – a sentence of that length is rare in Kenya.
However the consequences of this abhorrent abuse had long lasting effects for Nancy and her mother. Due to her daughter’s injuries Nancy’s mother was unable to work as her daughter needed full time care. Nancy now had to live with the psychological trauma of the abuse she endured but was also left with neurological damage that has affected her speech and learning abilities. She also has nerve damage to her limbs, in particular only has limited use of one arm.
Nancy is now deemed by our partners as a “special case” one who is high risk of being lured by traffickers and is on their radar. Nancy has now been able to go to school and her attendance is monitored daily, yet Nancy and her mother are living in extreme poverty and their future is uncertain.
When we heard this story our hearts broke. For less than a cup of coffee a day we learnt what a difference that loose change would make to the lives of Nancy and her mother. Nancy could enjoy her education with access to all the resources that she would need. It would also provide much needed support for the home helping to pay for food and expenses. This would completely remove the financial burden from the family and allow them to heal and give them hope for the future.
When we met with Nancy and her mother we gave them the news that we would be sponsoring them and as well gave Nancy a simple gift of a backpack for school. To see the relief and tears of joy on Nancy’s mothers face, to see the smile on Nancy’s face was humbling to say the least. To know that from our gesture Nancy has the best shot of securing a positive future for herself. Nancy’s mother can focus on caring for Nancy and taking some time for herself, without the stress of wondering how to make ends meet. It really is the most inspiring feeling in the world – to give!
Our core business is to rescue children but after care and prevention are equally as important to us. Seeing first hand what aftercare is needed for these victims and how quickly they could succumb to a life of slavery if they are not supported, motivates us to want to do more. We could not have done this wi