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An unforgettable gesture in a time of heartbreak

Many of you may remember a story we shared last year of the unbelievable compassion that the children in our beloved family who live on the street can show to those in need. We had been …

Many of you may remember a story we shared last year of the unbelievable compassion that the children in our beloved family who live on the street can show to those in need.
 
We had been wondering why some of our small boys weren’t eating their daily meals with us, and instead were taking their meals away. It turned out that the boys were sharing their meals with a mama and her baby who were living on the streets. These boys, who had nothing, were willing to go with less of their only meal a day. They told our Feeding Program team of their worries and huge concerns, and then we shared this beautiful story with you all.
 
The response we received to this story was amazing. So many of you wanted to help this young mother and her baby. Your generosity enabled us to provide a simple and perfect little home, furnishings and a monthly food donation. Next, through Rafiki Social, we set up a small business for her, selling samosas. It was work that she could easily manage with a baby. She was so happy with her new life, and continued to show our small boys the love and concern that they had shown her.
 
Sadly, she began to feel very unwell. Her stays in hospital were frequent and our family who live on the street literally felt this sickness with her. These amazing young boys and girls showed such compassion. They worried every day and did anything they could to help.

We cannot share the details of the young mother’s illness but we are utterly heartbroken to report that during a recent hospital visit, she passed away. Her life was just beginning to turn around and she finally felt like she had so much to live for, with a beautiful baby boy, a new-found family and stability.
 
Our incredible Aunty Conci and Uncle Bubah were shattered. When our large family heard the very sad news, they were heartbroken as you can imagine. They asked Conci and Bubah so many questions, but most concerns were about when she would be laid to rest and for her baby.

Imagine our hearts when we met them the next day for lunch and these amazing children presented us with 3380ksh (approx $40 AUD) to help cover the costs of the burial. These children, who have not one possession in their life, had worked together to collect the money. They didn’t spend it on food, drugs or any comforts. As Aunty Conci said to us, “These people have immeasurable love for each other. They have nothing but will make sure she is given a peaceful send-off.”
 
They were so worried about the burial and how it would be funded. They knew that their money was a start but it would not cover the expenses of a burial. Watching these children, whose hearts were aching, demonstrate such amazing generosity left us knowing that we had to pay for the peaceful send-off that they were praying for.  
 
We felt that such an unforgettable gesture from our children had to be honoured. We told our children that not only will we give Charlotte* the send-off they hoped we could give her, but that every month we’ll spend the same amount that they raised (3,380ksh) on something special for their daily meal. One month it may be meat with the meal, and another month sodas or sweets. It will be a day we remember Charlotte as well as their selfless act in collecting funds for her burial.

Pictured above are the children at the mortuary waiting for approval to release her body and also the walk back to town after receiving the good news.

As if *Charlotte’s tragic passing wasn’t hard enough, there were complications at the hospital regarding the release of her body. Many days passed and each day, the children turned up at the hospital, hoping that it was the day we would lay her to rest. Conci and Bubah had a tough time trying to explain to the children why we were not able to collect her body from the hospital. 
 
In the past, when a loved family member passed away at the hospital, the children would form a huge group and storm the hospital to demand the body. This time, our amazing, patient and loving staff worked hard to keep them calm and reassure them that we would make it happen.
 
The children agreed to come with us to the hospital the next day to wait calmly for any news. They were unbelievable and they did just that. They waited and showed no signs of kicking off. We were finally given the good news that the hospital was able to release her body. Finally, we could say our goodbyes to Charlotte the following day.


Our staff reported that it was the hardest of all days. The burial was both beautiful and heart-breaking. Our staff, family from the street and many community members came together to farewell Charlotte. Her baby boy did not know what was happening but he was able to say goodbye in his own way. We know that Aunty Conci and our family will make sure he knows how hard she fought for him.

I know many of you will ask what will happen next for Charlotte’s son. Sadly, he will be placed in a children’s home to be cared for. We will check on him to ensure that he is being treated with care but this is all we can do. There is so much heartache in this world, but for all the heartache there is more than enough love and compassion to help us carry on the fight. The fight for those who have been forgotten in this world. Thank you for not staying silent. We need your help.

*Name changed for privacy reasons.

If you would like to donate to help us cover the costs of the burial or to help with funding the feeding program you can do this on our donate page here.


Rafiki Mwema Registered Charity
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