We maintain ongoing communications with our project partners about their needs and the diverse experiences they have in their neighborhoods. I thought it would be helpful to reflect on some of our friends on the front lines from the rough and tumble streets of Juarez Mexico too the Horn of Africa.
It’s sad to have to stop and ask yourself, “what drives mothers to abandon their own children and surrender their fate to strangers”? Hogar de Niños is one of ACF’s best and most impressive projects. It’s located in the war torn city of Juarez, Mexico, and is used to getting packages of all kinds being dropped off daily, but one day an unexpected package took everyone by surprise.
One of the many reasons that drive a mother to abandon her own child and surrender their fate to strangers is the current violent state of Juarez. The break down in the society is so horrendous, with chaotic battles being waged between the state and local drug lords, thousands of families and single mothers have no resources to provide for their children. In some desperate circumstances a blind Hope for the children’s survival has moved desperate parents to drop off their children at our front door.
“Recently, one seemingly typical day at the orphanage the staff noticed a taxi circulating the premises. Having thoroughly inspecting the operation from afar a mother stepped out of the taxi with a young boy who appeared to be about 18 months old. After bringing the baby boy to the front gate, the mother returned to the taxi and took off, fatefully leaving her child to the hands of the Children’s Home.
Although no further contact was ever made with the mother we are grateful that she came to Hogar de Niños with her child instead of leaving him on some deserted street in Juarez where he almost certainly would have been killed. This particular abandoned child has now been transformed into a joyful and amusing little boy. He has adapted and is now a part of the loving and accepting family at the Children’s Home. Soon he will attend pre-school with other children.” Thanks to the dedicated work of these caregivers and our donors, this little boy has a promise and a future full of life and opportunity.
Shortly after thugs murdered 9 year old James’ father in North West Kenya, they kidnapped him and brought him to the site of his father’s murder, while the blood was still fresh and told him, “This is your father’s blood.”
They then brought him to the morgue and showed James his father’s brutalized body. His grieving mother and her other two daughters were the object of many death threats from these same men who killed her husband. The shock of this experience caused James to become confused and unable to concentrate on his studies at school. He kept repeating he wanted to go away and be with his father.
Our Children’s Shelter took James in and cared for him through his traumatic recovery. His mother was offered a job as a cook at one of the shelters and can now afford to care for her other two daughters without the threat of harm coming to the family from her husband’s assassins.
“My name is Vanessa and I am 13 years old, I was the last born in a family of 12 kids. I was taken in by my paternal uncle after losing my parents to HIV/AIDS and after learning my paternal uncle wanted to sacrifice me in a Witch Craft ritual to the traditional gods, I ran away from him” There is a growing incidence of child sacrifice in Uganda and many kids (especially girls) have lost their lives to this inhuman practice.
“I then went to my grandmother who lived in a slum around Kampala city for refuge. My grandmother sold me to work as a house girl to nearby family friend. I was subjected to all kinds of hard labor beyond my age and after being exploited this way I found transportation so that I could go to my other aunt in a distant village called Namasuba.
Unfortunately, when I reached her home, I learned she had moved, and now I was stranded and didn’t know what to do or where to go, so I went into the open street to beg. After living begging on the streets for 6 months, a police lady picked me up and took me to Namasuba Police Post where I stayed for 2 days. On the third day they were transferring prisoners to Old Kampala Police Station so I went with them.”
While at the Police Station one male police officer offered Vanessa a job to work at his home as a maid and she refused. “My only dream was to get a place to live, to eat and maybe go back to school”. After spending 4 days at Old Kampala Police Station, the head of Child Family and Protection Unit contacted the Children’s Home to ask if they had room for Vanessa.
“I am happy now. I have a place to call home and a family to belong to. There are other sisters in this home who love and treat me like their sister. And we have caring and loving house parents in this home I can talk to if I have something to share. Our house parents here have told us that there are other people in America who love and pray for us, they also support us financially so that we can have food, medical care and school fees.”
With Abandoned Children’s Fund support, Vanessa is a student at Lwadda Primary School. She is in grade three. She is the food and nutrition prefect (leader). She hopes to one day become a teacher. Due to the care she has received, Vanessa will never be the same again.