We warmly welcome Maria (3) a new child in the Kids of Africa Children’s Village!
A few weeks she joined the family of our experienced “Mother Peace”. She was warmly welcomed by her, by her new siblings and by the whole village. Yet, it took time for her to relax, to gain trust in her new environment. Because Maria was admitted to us in highest need. She was in critical condition – malnourished, dehydrated, traumatized. Her mother, who was suffering from AIDS, died recently in a car accident. Her father, who suffers from AIDS, is bedridden. Her parental grandmother, her last living relative, also died. It was a deeply tragic start into life. His parents, too, must have suffered terribly. For sure, they would intuitively agree that “To save a child, means to save a world”.
I want to write to you today about two things. First, about the process of how children reach Kids of Africa. And secondly, I want to share a few more words and pictures about Maria.
How a child comes to Kids of Africa
Good neighbors brought the helpless toddler to a clinic which quickly alerted the state social services. At first, the latter sought – unsuccessfully – a) natural relatives, or b) a Ugandan adoption family. This process is regulated in detail by law in Uganda. Only after all attempts to find a natural family for Maria failed, was Kids of Africa contacted with an official request for guardianship. Each of our protégés came to Kids of Africa in this way. Our three social workers keep a complete documentation for each child. Even if the search for natural relatives sometimes resembles the proverbial search for a needle in a haystack, we are still committed to it. Because we owe that to our children. And we owe it to Uganda’s law. After all, we were able to subsequently identify relatives for 18 our kids. In such cases we leave it up to the children whether they want to live with their relatives (if possible). However, so far no child of Kids of Africa has moved out.
Not only because we have upheld these principles since our foundation, our village in Uganda is often praised as an exemplary children’s charity. This is by no means a matter of course. At the moment an intensive discussion is taking place in Uganda about the dilemma of a) its many abandoned children, b) the strained social authorities and c) the high number illegal children’s charities in the country. Recently, the government announced the closure of more than three hundred children’s charities. Unfortunately, not all charities do what their name suggests. All the more, we note that our good reputation, our transparency and the complete documentation of our work are so central to our work.
Back to Maria.
The small girl was traumatized. This is normal, especially in toddlers who have suffered so much. In the first few days she spoke little. She often cried. Especially at night, due the loss of her mother, her father and her grandfather. And yet Mary – like all our protégés – stabilized very quickly. Pictures say more than words.
And we know that time, love and patient care heal many wounds. That’s how we’ve been working for over fifteen years. For the good of the children and the good of Uganda. Their good health is our nicest reward. One good day, Maria will one day stand on her own feet. She, too, will be an important member of Uganda’s society. We believe in her like we do in every child who lives in our families or attends one of our schools. More in them in the next newsletter.
Best regards from Kids of Africa