I’ve been thinking about how to start this blog post for a while. I wanted to start with something that would grab your attention, make you stop and read on, ultimately catch your heart and mobilise you into doing something. But I can’t think of how to start. So I’m just going to write. Make of it what you want.
Earlier this week I learnt of the case of a girl of 6 years who attends an informal ‘school’ for children who, due to their home situation, cannot regularly attend class. Her mother is a beggar and they live in very bad conditions. I’ve been working on this case for the past couple of weeks, trying to find funding for the girl to have a very simple operation on something that she’s needed for years, but the family cannot afford.
However, what I learnt this week has angered me and sickened me to the core. It came to light that this girl has repeatedly been raped over some time. Something which may well be the cause of the operation she needs.
But tell me, how can someone do that to a 6 year old child? It’s disgusting. I can’t get my head around it. I’ve heard stories, I know it’s a too common an occurence here. But when you know the case, you know the child… it burdens my heart so much.
The girl has been in hospital the past few days as a result of the most recent defilement. She’s terrified of going home. The mother has been to visit her daughter only once and was sent away after telling a pack of lies to the doctors. The doctors cannot prove who raped her and so the man is free to walk and if the girl returns home it is highly likely that this will happen again. And again.
How can I sit here and let that girl go home, knowing what she’ll return to? I can’t, I just can’t.
I’ve agreed to find funds to support this girl so she can go to boarding school. The same school that Hellen, Zulea and Rhoda go to (see previous blog posts). These three girls are from similar backgrounds and are now doing so well. Zulea in particular is a different child to the one I met in 2008 before she went to boarding school. I cannot emphasize enough the difference it has made on their lives. To be in a safe environment away from the slums and the dangers they would otherwise face on a daily basis. Boarding school may not sound ideal to the English mind, but it’s honestly the best option and only for these girls. And they love it – Hellen was in tears not wanting to come home for Easter holidays. She clung to the housemistress.
But here comes the problem. Boarding school is not cheap. It’s £700 a year, and this figure increases as they move up the classes and need extra tuition.
And I know, it’s a lot of money. And I know there is so much need and so many places that £700 could be spent. But I don’t care. When you know the case, you’ve seen the child, you know the situation she’ll be going back to…how can I ignore that? This is a life. A six-year old girl.
I know I’ve just blogged asking for support for child sponsorship, and it’s really not something I enjoy doing – asking for money. Hence really not knowing how to start this post. But equally, there is no way I can ignore this child.
And so this is where maybe you come in… I’m asking if there is any way you can help me in funding the funds to support this girl. I know £700/year is so much, but maybe you can give a one-off contribution. Maybe there’s something you can sacrifice – a meal out, a trip to the cinema, a night at the pub – for this girl. Or maybe you can mobilise your workplace, your university or your local school to fundraise. I can give as much information, photos, letters etc on the case as needed.
Or least, could you email the link to this blog post around your contacts, or put it on your facebook status so as many people as possible can read. There must be some way of raising this money.
Any contribution, however small, will make the biggest difference.
And now I’m stuck with how to finish this blog post. I realise it’s probably not the best written one (something, given the circumstances, I’m not going to apologise for), but it’s all I can do.
My email address for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org