We have to keep going and we need to know that we are able to help the Rafiki Family long term.
You will keep our children safe. We are a unique project and we don’t want to have to close our doors to the beautiful, damaged children who will literally have no-where else to go. We know that most of our boys would be in jail or dead by now if they couldn’t come to us – you can keep that happening. You can keep them with us. You can welcome the baby girls who have yet to face the horror of being raped. You can help us build our outreach team that do so much in educating the communities and schools to avoid the fates of our small sisters.
Your donations will pay for the medical costs that are forever rising. All the public hospitals in Kenya have been on strike for many many months so there is NO access to free or subsidised care. Even when they are opened the care there is less than basic and our children need more than that. We have one of our older girls who has simply collapsed under the stress of her early life, and her mental health is not good. We can either hospitalise her into the most scary and awful mental institution you can imagine, where care is non-existent and she is unsafe, or employ nurses who work along-side our team in wrap around care. You can help us to ensure the internal damage to our girls is fixed and not submit them to a life of medical difficulties. You can help us to treat our baby boys who are riddled with diseases, including being HIV positive and TB, to have a healthy future, where they can be part of a loving family, changing the history and stopping the cycle of abuse that many of our children experience.
You will help us to complete our buildings where the Kings and Queens of the future will reign and learn. They will be safe away from the pull of drugs and violence that they are addicted to. We will help them to access education away from the horrors of their stories. Our girls are targeted at school because of their stories; our boys are turned away from classes because they don’t conform; and yet our children are smart, keen and committed but their brains don’t access education in the way less traumatised children do.
You personally will help families who have lived through generational abuse change that cycle and become the parents that they deserved to have, they will be loving and kind and respect their families.
Your help will keep our doors open for the most damaged children and help them find their way safely back into the families and communities where they belong.
You will change the lives of families not yet formed and babies not yet born.
Your donation will keep us able to accept and support those that can’t live without us.
Please note that Rafiki Mwema is a registered Australian charity and any donation over $2 is tax deductible within Australia.
Continue reading on for more information on our day to day..
Allow me to walk you through our last 12 months and show you our world of worry and success. Only your support will allow us to continue taking in the children that the world tries to forget. Without you these children would be dying from disease and injuries; they would have no childhood and no future; many would not survive the initial injuries or another night of abuse.
They need Rafiki Mwema and they need you.
We had an amazing year, a challenging and expensive year. But mostly it has been amazing and this is evident in the impact we are having on the children.
In the last year, we have had 12 new girls and 17 new boys arrive at Rafiki Mwema. Their needs has been intense and each of them were at genuine risk of not surviving if they hadn’t been able to come to us.
Our baby girls had not only been raped but were frequently living in extreme poverty, where their mothers were often out taking whatever work they could get. This often means having to leave their small children with no adults for hours on end. They weren’t neglectful, they were desperate. They didn’t expect their small daughters to be raped by the monsters that prey on these vulnerable babies. These mamas needed to feed their families to survive. Their need to provide for their families came at a cost. And the price was paid. Our little ones arrive abused, scared and intensely damaged in so many ways.
When our girls arrive, they are physically damaged – these children are raped and need extensive medical attention. Some of our girls spend weeks in hospital before they return to us and that requires ongoing funds. Often, they have been to the police station but no-one has attended to their horrific injuries because they are hidden beneath their filthy clothes. They can’t be seen so they are not treated. They need reparative surgeries, repeated return trips to hospital as well as medical care at home with us. Sadly, the bills keep coming and we will never stop going to their aid and raising the funds to do so.
So they come to us, and they need so much care. They need to know they are safe. They need to know their family are safe. They need food, shelter, warmth, love, and so much more.
While they are settling into our life, they spend weeks in our transitional house, Malkia Mtoto. Here they can gently transition into the hustle of our therapeutic (and very busy) home. They have the same loving and caring Aunties 24 hours a day. They wake at night, screaming in the nightmares that implode in their heads, and have safe arms to hold them; safe arms to change their bedding if they soil or wet in fear; safe arms to lovingly nurse them back to consciousness where they might begin to recover from the million fears they are experiencing. And when they feel able, and only when they feel able, they slowly begin to join our other girls at Doyle Farm, lovingly called the small girls house.
While they are in their intense trauma stage, our outreach team are already tracking down families. I can’t tell you how many children are ‘lost’ in the system, where families lose contact with their children. These children spend years away from those who love and care for them. We have a dedicated team who work tirelessly tracing families and arranging home visits. These families don’t often live in convenient towns, but often out in remote villages. They don’t have mobile phones or registered addresses. Our staff have to visit areas to physically search for the families. Often, they just have a name of an area, which can be vast, and they begin their search. Villagers are often suspicious; fearing what these strangers want them for. But we don’t give up. To date we have zero children who we have not been able to trace their families. We take our vehicles to the most unfriendly of terrains; our staff get lifts on motorbikes if the roads are too bad to pass, or they walk many many miles, but they find families.
To be so thorough, to bring families together and support the families to see their children while they are with us, is expensive. We have a staff of 46 which is needed to support such vulnerable children. All our children have a therapeutic key worker who is their go-to person. Their key worker spends age related time, building a safe relationship. Giving them a place to tell their stories if they need; learn to reconnect to being a child and not a victim. They have an outreach team working off site to make their future safer; they have home visits accompanied by the team; they attend courts, hospitals and in some cases schools. Our other girls are educated at home by qualified teachers. It’s a full and costly job, but we are not a ‘care home’ we are a therapeutic centre that works with the community to reintegrate these damaged babies to their families.
Our boys, our new boys are the gateway to a safe future. Without the love, support and understanding of the complexities of boys who have lived on the harsh streets of town, we can’t change the lives of the very girls we help. Our boys have often been raped multiple times, by both men and women. They have diseases that are spread through the communities. They have been forced into bestiality. They are so damaged people fear them and chase them away with knives and whips. Our new boys are aged 7 – 12 years old. They are babies that are feared like monsters.
The day we collected them from the streets was heart-breaking. In some cases these boys looked like piles of discarded rags by the main road. Cars and buses drove past them and people stepped over their damaged minds and bodies, as if their situation was contagious. So 16 boys came to Rafiki Mwema – all off them filthy, drug addicted, damaged and the most gorgeous little guys you’d ever meet. Of course they have ‘behaviours’ that are not ok – I am shocked at how many windows they can smash when in a rage; how foul mouthed and scary these little scared princes are; how fired by their need for drugs they can be; and how beautiful their souls are. They have such a need for intense support, but we know from the boys who have been with us for three years that they can change into the men that love and respect themselves; that love and respect each other; that love and respect their future families. But it takes time and resources. They also need to reconnect to the families they ran from. Families who have not treated them well, who have beaten and abused them and sent them to the cold harsh streets, as a preference over home life. But for their sense of self; the ability to build a future; they need to reconnect. Most of our boys have no safe home to return to. Often their parents are drug users and alcoholics who simply cannot care for their children, it would not be safe for them to return, but the boys want to know their families of course. They want to visit, but they worry about them. Their families are often in extreme poverty, any income used for their personal addictions. So the boys take food parcels with them and slowly they understand parts of their childhoods they ran from. Our staff with the boys and the outreach team work together to build a platform of history that our boys build their future from.