RUGENE: Why all Kenyans must make the wellbeing of children a priority - Daily Nation

Why all Kenyans must make the wellbeing of children a priority

Tuesday February 12 2019

child abuse

A graphic detailing child abuse in Kenya. We must put an end to the suffering our children are going through. GRAPHIC| MICHAEL MOSOTA | NMG 

By NJERI RUGENE
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About 10 days ago today, a group of professionals travelled from Nairobi to a humble home in a sleepy village in Kigumo, Murang’a County. The professionals comprising both genders included doctors, engineers, lawyers.

They were at Njora Village to support one of their own, Dr Jean Kagia, a prominent gynaecologist at The Nairobi Hospital, and her team.

GUARDIANS

Under the Protecting Life Movement Trust, they run The Humble Home — a centre for desperate children; girls, who are basically victims of sexual abuse and rape, by all kinds of men, including close relatives, who then reject them after making them pregnant. The perpetrators of this cruelty, among them parents and guardians, usually blame the teenagers for their misery.

It is at Muthithi Rescue Kiota (kiota is Kiswahili for nest) that Dr Kagia and team take in minors carrying crisis pregnancies. They give them shelter, cater for their health and psychological needs and ensure they attend antenatal clinics at credible health facilities. And when the time for delivery is due, they ensure the girls give birth in safe hands, considering their tender age.

The thinking behind the Kiota team, who focus on saving the lives of the girls and their unborn babies, is that the transition period (when the girls are at the shelter) would help to dissipate the anger their parents and guardians may harbour against them.

Apparently, it does — in most cases. The parents are touched by the sight of the sweet babies and embrace the opportunity of becoming grandparents. Some of the babies, however, are given away for adoption, especially those born of incest.

On this day, the local Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) clergy, led by Murang’a South Bishop Julius Karanu, were dedicating the centre to God.

DEFILEMENT

In the gathering were little playful children and their young mothers. They were among those who go through the Kiota and occasionally return to comfort, encourage and inspire others. Indeed, they put smiles on the faces of three heavily expectant minors at the home.

The girls — all victims of defilement — were between 13 and 14. Many of us were left with mixed feelings just looking at their small bodies and the uncertainty of the future, but grateful to find a loving family in the rescue centre.

Dr Kagia and team should inspire more professionals and other Kenyans to help girls and young women and generally children in difficult circumstances because they have become soft targets for criminals and other irresponsible men.

Last week’s shocking news from Nakuru County, where some people, seemingly unable to deal with the thorny issue of growing numbers of street children, young adults and families, rounded them up under the cover of darkness and abandoned them in neighbouring Baringo is an example of things that we must never do to the vulnerable.

The youngsters, mostly boys, were arrested in a swoop in Nakuru Town and ferried to Torongo, nearly 50 kilometres away. How callous!

IRRESPONSIBLE

The Nakuru County administration was quick to deny responsibility. But it would be taking it too far to expect them to admit this action as it was irresponsible and reflects badly on whoever did it.

Paedophiles and rapists have made their way into the country and, before we know it, they establish ‘orphanages’ from where they proceed to defile our children with abandon.

Look at the case of the creepy Dutchman, reported in the latest Sunday Nation as having been convicted in his home country of sexual offences, jailed and completed his term, only to find his way into the country and set up another criminal enterprise to continue abusing young girls!

This explains just how reckless our society has become insofar as protecting our children is concerned.

But we cannot afford to let the trend continue. We must put an end to the suffering our children are going through. They are our world and we must protect them.

Ms Rugene is a consulting editor. [email protected]

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