My name is John*. I am 11 years old and I have two sisters and two brothers. I am the first born in my family and we live with my wonderful mother in Huruma slums. My father lives with his other family though he visits us at times. We like it when he visits because he brings us meat and sugar which my mum is not able to buy. The only sad thing is that at times when he visits, we hear our mum scream for help because he beats her up. I don’t know why he beats her yet my mum is a good person and works very hard to take care of our needs. She hawks clothes and perfumes in the neighborhood. However, in spite of her hard work, at times she is not able to provide food for us.Some days we sleep on empty stomachs and hope for a meal the next day. Again, I have lost count of the houses we have moved in after my mum is unable to pay rent and has been chased away by the landlords. I will never forget a while back when my mum was not able to pay rent for our single room and the landlord demanded we move out. He removed the door to make sure the house was no longer habitable for us. We did not have anywhere to go so we slept in that house. But very sadly, that night thieves came to our little house and raped my mother,what followed was the conception of our last born. My beautiful sister was later born but she suffered from rickets. She was taken in and out of hospital and the prescribed medicines were too expensive for my mum to buy,However, I have a dream to become a policeman to defend my family and community from all kinds of assault. I want to ensure we all live in peace. I pray that GOD will make my dreams come true. I will build for my family a good house and set for my mum a big business. I have faith in GOD as my teachers in Sunday school have taught me that GOD has a good plan for me, to give me a future and a hope. I believe I can do all things through CHRIST who strengthens me and I will become a great person. Teacher Hannah teaches us that GOD hears us when we pray and he will answer our prayers.
This is the story of a child in Huruma (low income neighbourhood) in Nairobi-Kenya, but the story is replicated across children living in the slums, with only different actors and few details changing but the themes are common:
- Physical abuse
- Hunger and lack
- Insufficient medical care
- Insufficient housing
- Unstable families and polygamy
In February 2012, Hearts and Mind – a christian based organisation started the transformation of the heart and mind children’s programs reaching out to children, sharing love and compassion and giving hope to children using the holy scriptures, believing that their faith was a great tool of transformation. The faith tool not only gives hope to the children but also teaches them how to live with one another, believe in oneself and expose them to a world of possibilities.
Violence against children may not always claim their lives but it always claims their Childhood ~ Deputy Executive Director, UNICEF
End Child Poverty joined Hearts and Mind during one of their joyous sessions at Kagira primary and Batian Christian School in Nairobi. Deliberating on Phase II of the expansion of the already existing program and how to replicate the programs elsewhere as part of the school curriculum as well as co-sponsoring the children’s upcoming trip and other relevant actions through the Heart and Mind project; towards ending child poverty and violence against children. End Child Poverty believes that all forms of violence against children however light are unacceptable. More on child protection against violence here.
Note(*): Child’s name has been changed to protect his identity