In March, before the Village was in lockdown, we had an urgent intake of 4 siblings – Leonida, Esther, William and Nicholas*. When their father abandoned them, and their mother became paralysed in a slum in Eldoret, the children saw no hope. They struggled to care for their frail mother and afford food and other necessities. They were desperate. But thankfully Open Arms was able to step in! A social worker arranged for them to be brought to the Village to be cared for and loved whilst their mother received proper medical care.
Read below for the full story of how Leonida, Esther, William and Nicholas came to join the Open Arms Family and how you can help us care for them.
Leonida, Esther, William and Nicholas lived in one of the slum areas in Eldoret. We believe they are around 7, 12, 12 and 13 years old, but we don’t know for sure because they have never celebrated or even acknowledged their birthdays. A year ago, their mother fell ill and soon became completely paralysed, their father abandoned them soon after, leaving the children alone to care for themselves and their mother. They had to sell their belongings to buy food, but that soon ran out and there was no money for any medical care for their mother. She lay on the floor and the children cared for her on their hands and knees. Leonida, the youngest, spent so much time kneeling to care for her mother that she developed deep wounds on her knees. Two of the children had sores covering their body, but there was no money to pay for any treatment or medicine.
The children attended school; but they had no uniforms, books, pens or school shoes and they would struggle to focus with their empty stomachs and tired heads from nights sleeping on the hard mud floor. The teachers insisted that they needed to see their parents so the four of them put their mother on a boda boda (motorcycle taxi) and carried her immobile body to school. The teachers were shocked at what they saw. They scraped together some of their own money to provide food and new uniforms. However, they knew this was not a permanent solution. The children needed help urgently.
A government Children’s Officer became aware of the children’s desperate condition and contacted Open Arms. An Open Arms Social Worker (who is funded by donations) visited the children and after a few days brought the children to the Village, so they could be properly cared for and their mother could get medical care. When the children arrived at the Village, they saw the welcoming faces of parents, social workers, children and other staff members. As the children came closer, they realised that for the first time in a while, they had the opportunity to just be children again.
This is not the first call that the village had ever got to do with urgent placement, and it will not be the last. We can help children in these situations because of donations. It is generosity that allows us to keep our doors open. It only costs £8.75 a day to provide holistic care for a child; that covers food, medical bills and everything else they need to thrive. Could you give hope to a child?
Leonida, Esther, William and Nichols are now in a safe home. Could you help us care for them and other children just like them by becoming a supporter today?
The children now:
All the children are excited to start attending school again. They are excited to focus on studying and having fun with their new friends rather than being full of fear of their future. Nicholas should be heading to high school next year so, attending the Open Arms Academy for a year will mean he can continue with his schooling, achieve the best he can to go on to the next stage of his studies.
The children all received a medical examination and a set of new clothes at the Village, something that was new to them. little Leonida needs urgent treatment because of the wounds on her knees and a skin infection she has on her back. William has the same infection but to a lesser degree. The children have been given medication and with adequate diet and hygiene that they will receive in our care, their conditions will soon improve. In addition, all the children will have access to counselling services to help them process the trauma they have been through.
While they are at the village, their mother will be receiving medical care courtesy of the government. She will need to stay at the hospital for some time. “I know that my children are safe in Open Arms. I know that I will be able to see my children. One day I will be well again, and I will rebuild. Thank you for taking care of my children.”
*Names are always changed