Imagine you had to go through this, like 17-year-old Jessica did.
She didn’t know what was happening to her. She was disabled, unable to talk, walk or feed herself. All she could do was lay on her mat in the dirt… and wait.
And it was like this, all alone, her baby died in her arms.
Jessica was completely unprepared for this. An unknown man took advantage of her and molested her in the night. And as soon as it became clear Jessica was pregnant, her mother tried to keep her pregnancy rumours a secret. Her mum was in denial during the pregnancy, and told everyone her daughter had stomach pains.
Jessica’s life was already hard enough before falling pregnant. She slept on a mat on the dirt floor, couldn’t feed herself, or go to the toilet without help.
And there’s a possibility a family member was responsible for assaulting Jessica.
But perhaps, what’s even worse, Jessica’s story isn’t a once-off in Western Kenya. Many children and teens who fall pregnant have been sexually assaulted and left without support. Their stories are considered ‘taboo’. And their helpless babies are at high risk of abandonment and death.
At the local healthcare centre, expectant young moms who make it to the labour ward are not allowed to visit the toilets, but must go in a bucket in a corner. That’s because too many are known to have drowned their newborn infants in the long drops.
This is why the Early Childhood Development (ECD) House in Kisumu needs to be urgently built.
Young mums and their babies need a safe place of refuge and support as soon as possible.
If the ECD House was up and running, it would be a safe haven for girls like Jessica during their pregnancy, where they would receive the care and referrals needed for a safe delivery.
The house is more than just a home for 21 children. It’s a place where young mums can receive counselling and support. And where there’s a day care program, allowing mothers to get further education.
The team in Kisumu have reached out to Jessica and her family by praying with them and providing a care package, including a waterproof mattress for Jessica. The family also have access to a plot of land at Milele, where they can grow vegetables.
Jessica’s family are doing their best to take care of Jessica’s health needs, but she is desperately overdue for specialised care that is available, but is difficult for the family because of her limited mobility.
The Milele team want to help Jessica access healthcare by providing a wheelchair to help her get around.
You can make the ECD House a reality. Make a tax-deductible gift today.