An issue that has been heavy on my heart is the plight of young girls with disabilities, specifically those living in the slum areas. They are extra vulnerable to being taken advantage of and many are left alone all day while their mothers go to provide for their families, leaving them wide open for abuse. After an incident that happened with one of our students this week (more to come on this later) my heart has been breaking for vulnerable girls with disabilities in Kitale.
This issue was still on my mind when I went for my weekly visit to see how Pascal’s mother, Rose is doing. Every time I go there Quinta makes her way down to say hi. Quinta is nine years old and has cerebral palsy, which makes it difficult for her to walk on her own. Her mother sees her as a burden and leaves her locked outside the house all day. There is something wrong when you would lock up your possessions in your house for safe keeping, while leaving your daughter outside alone to fend for herself all day.
Quinta is shy and reserved and didn’t talk to me much on these visits, but would come and sit right next to me and smile. Rose told me that after I leave she always asks when I am going to take her to come stay with me. She told them that she doesn’t like sitting alone outside all day (without lunch most days) while the other kids go to school or tag along with their mother while she runs errands. I told Quinta that she just needed to wait for a few months until the new house is built then she could come and learn with the other kids. She agreed, but looked up at me with tears in her eyes. We walked her back to her house and then headed off to eat lunch. I couldn’t get her off my mind. Why should such a sweet child have to suffer, be the family outcast and be put in such a vulnerable position simply because she has a disability?
The very same day I went back and talked to Quinta’s mother and we brought her to Precious Kids Center. It has been great to see her open up and become comfortable in such a short time. Here she already knows that she is loved for who she is by the staff and other children. She had only said about three words to me before she came and now she is free to be herself and has turned into a little chatterbox.
It’s been so great to see her joy in being treated as part of the family. Here are just a few snapshots of Quinta during her first few weeks at Precious Kids Center. Her smile says it all!