It costs an average of £8.75 a day to care for a child at the Open Arms Village. That covers food, medicine, shelter, education, counselling, a loving and safe environment and so much more!
Please read below to see the story of where these 4 children have come from and how they are doing now.
Thank you for providing care and giving them a future!
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.
The children at the Village:
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.”
Sadly, their mother died from her illness in August. The children were understandably devastated by this, the oldest child is desperate to go visit where his mother is buried. “I want to say goodbye and tell her that we are ok. That she does not need to worry about us. She raised us well and we will make her proud”. Tragically, this is not possible now, due to restrictions from Covid-19.
Although we are devastated for these children and the grief they are experiencing, we are so grateful we have been able to surround them with love and a new family. We always aim to keep children with their biological family where possible, but now this is not possible the children will stay in the Village long term. We are confident they will thrive as they have already flourished whilst at the Open Arms Village. All their injuries and illnesses caused by the poor hygiene and nutrition they experienced whilst living with their mother have gone. They love playing with the other children and are always expressing their gratitude of being together as siblings.
This pandemic is making life harder for people all over the world, however some have lost more than others. As an organization, our income has been limited by not being able to put on fundraising events or have speaking engagements. We are honoured to provide care for these 4 siblings who have lost so much.
When the children first came to the Village, their mother said -
“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.”
We believe this is still the truth, we believe that the children will see their mother again in a time when there is no pain or suffering in the kingdom of heaven. Until that time, we will take care of her children and make sure they are safe.
Will you help us provide this safe place for the children at the Open Arms Village?