Today I was blown away. Why one might ask, with all the various issues, that families are faced with in Africa? What could possibly blow me away. Women who are suppose to be mothers that literally throw their children down the toilet, or pit latrine as we call it in Africa. Yes, I have moved to a new area to start a new position at a University as a consultant initially which is later to become a permanent position. That is beside the point. I decided to explore my neighborhood. I stopped at what I thought was a little cafe, only to find out it was an international organization that offers several other services, with the cafe being their income generating project to support their clinic, school, orphan and now baby orphan. What I discovered blew me away. That a woman, a compassionate, caring and nurturing being could be pushed to the point of displaying cruelty to her own offspring? Rape, maltreatment by husband, mate or family? Who knows, but the bigger crime is the child knowing they were dropped in a toilet left for dead.
Many of the children will have serious psychological damage just knowing that they were valued so little. Next week, I plan to return to visit them along with my son to spend some time with the babies in particular. I used to volunteer in Ethiopia at an orphanage, and really enjoyed my work there.
While I am speaking of orphanages, I want to alert you to a growing problem of NGO abuse among orphaned children. I recently met a psychologist who worked for several orphanages who shared with me some of the abuses that have been taking place, and I wanted to clear it from my consciousness to get feedback from my sister-friends, you. At any rate he shared that some of the orphanages that are collecting donations and funding for HIV positive children, actually conduct a screening on the children and those found to be positive are sent away, because they don't want to deal with the high cost and care of dispensing medication, and dealing with the possible spread of the disease. Additionally, he communicated that many of the so called orphans actually have family members, who have allowed them to go to the orphans because they are not financially able to care for them. One such orphan is one that teaches the children dance, however the children are made to dance sometimes from 3-7 in the morning and end at 7pm at night with very little food. Apparently the dance instructor is a drunkard who will wake the children in the middle of the night to begin their dance lessons. The children are taken to different foreign countries, where lots of money is raised, yet the children are practically being starved, while the top administrative staff are living in luxury at 5 star hotels and eating at expensive restaurants. My friend is a whistle blower who has tried on several occasions to stop the abuse only to find himself out of a job. In addition to the above, many of the children are being physically and sexually abused.
Where are the safe places for children. Unfortunately, I have not heard many great stories about children living in orphanages, that is why they have been discontinued in the west and replaced with foster care situations. I am sorry for sharing such negative information, but the truth must get out there in order for justice to find its proper way. So, much for me being blown away, when so many children are being put through so much pain and horror. Wish I had a solution for my friend to turn to when he encounters such events.
If I had the funds, I would open a safe house for children myself!!