Rafiki Mwema needs your help
We are totally committed to loving, educating, providing therapy and supporting our very vulnerable, and extremely gorgeous children through their time with us and beyond, but we are failing to cover our huge monthly costs.
We work with our children from the inside out; by that I mean that our children arrive with us through the courts after being raped and abused or straight from the horrors of surviving on the streets where these things are common place and the very people that should be protecting you, are those you fear most; Rafiki Mwema works so hard to help our children fall in love with themselves so they can eventually love others.
Allow me to introduce one of our 66 children to help you understand exactly what is involved in their daily care.
Casey is 7 years old but is very small for her age and could easily pass for five. She has the biggest smile and seems to love everyone. She runs to greet visitors and is keen to say hello. If you didn’t know her you would think she was your average happy child. Until you look and learn more about her.
She has the biggest smile that doesn’t reach her eyes and only ‘lights up’ when she knows she is being seen. Her smile is her armour that she uses to protect herself and keep you happy. She believes that if she can keep you happy then she might be safe; that you might not move closer and demand the price of her tiny little body, if she can keep you smiling.
When she arrived she was so scared she stayed for 2 weeks in our new Malkia Mtoto which is our beautiful facility to help frighten traumatised girls to transition into our house. They have 2 Aunties care for them as they learn to make sense of the world which has totally changed for them. Casey cried, wet the bed and melted each day when she thought no-one would see her.
It’s really hard work for Casey to keep smiling so as soon as she thinks you are not looking she allows the ‘real’ her to visit her face. It’s is often only a fleeting visit because it’s her ‘job’ to make sure that face is very well hidden. That big smile that doesn’t make her eyes crinkle drops to the ground like a stone and for a moment her mask slips to show the ‘real’ her. This face is drowning in deep sadness and despair. This face shows the ravages of abuse that have visited her tiny life. She can’t sleep at night because of the demons that visit her in her dreams and often one of our night Aunties will sit with her for hours, soothing her and reassuring her that there is no-one ‘waiting’ for her.
Because of her demons and fear she is so tired that she cannot remember and learn the simple things in life. School is beyond what she can manage. She focuses all her energy on smiling and faking being happy in the hope she will stay safe from you. We have a staff member support her through the day as she has expressed a wish in one of her darkest moments that life is simply too hard to live. She has a keyworker who connects with her through the day to allow her to experience one safe person in a world of fear. The trust we ask her to give us is not ours to take, it is hers to give and that will take her a very long time. She has therapy in our beautiful therapy room, where all our staff are trained to use an Attachment Play Programme to build a relationship with her key worker, if she will let her into her private sad and scary world.
In the middle of all this she is required to attend court to give evidence against the men who have stolen her childhood and she believes her innocence. She must go to the hospital for check-up and treatment for the diseases’ that rip through her baby body. Every single time she is called to court or the hospital another fake layer is added to her already fragile self as she dons her mask to face the day.
The outreach team are busy already working with her community to let them know that this baby girl is simply innocent and not a monster or demon. There is such a fear that communities will turn against this baby if she able to return to a safe (very checked and supported) family member. The outreach team will already be supporting the traumatised family members and helping them through the horror and shock that this has brought. They will be systematically checking out each family member to see if Casey will be able to go home some day in the future. Some of our girls have no safe home to return to and stay with us.
The hidden work for each child continues.
All our staff are trained to therapeutically parent. We have weekly training for them to better understand trauma and help them to parent in a loving, playful, accepting, curious and empathic way. This will help our children heal from the inside out. They will learn to find a tiny spark of love inside them and we work hard to ignite that fire until they feel ready to be loved and to love.
We can see the huge changes but there is a price tag.
We have 66 children and 42 staff, including our outreach team, guards and farm staff. ALL are vetted, trained and supervised. ALL our staff need to be safe and supportive. We need the very best and we have that. Every minute of working at Rafiki Mwema is full of challenges, laughter and repair.
There are many practicalities involved in running four separate therapeutic hoses. We have a house for our small Queens, and a castle for our bigger queens. We have a small boys house where our newest little prices reside. They are not long from the traumas and fears that daily living on the violent streets of Nakuru brought. Violence from the police, government officials, older men and women and each other. They need intensive care and a high ratio of staff to help them to learn that we are not going to use or abuse them. Help them to find the child that they have forgotten to be.
We need to run 3 vehicles (but need more!) to get our children to their visits home which are an essential part of their journey; to take our older children to school and to their vocational colleges; to visit our children who have entered boarding schools; to do the huge weekly shopping – we feed 100 people every day of every week.
We have 28 children in schools and colleges which are not free, so we have school fees, uniforms, shoes!! 66 pairs of school shoes (we have never achieved that), slippers, trainers, football boots – the list goes on.
We do so much that you simply can’t see and we want to keep building this new generation of young men and women who know how to love and respect and be loved and respected but we need your help to do this.
PLEASE HELP US TO CONTINUE TO CHANGE LIVES
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