It’s happening on a very hot day in August: Kenyan policemen are about to prepare a checkpoint for the day, as one of them becomes aware of a strange sound out of the bushes behind him. He finds a new born baby. The umbilical cord can be seen.
Immediately the policeman rushes to the nearest hospital with the small girl. Doctors identify that the back of the baby is severely injured. The baby is physically handicapped.
A nearby orphanage becomes the home of the newborn, which tries its best to take care of the baby – as good as possible.
A nice name is given to the small girl: “Baraka” (swahili: “the blessed one”).
[picture right: Geert – chairman RAINBOW CHILDREN FOUNDATION GERMANY – hands over a donation, 2017]
We meet Baraka in summer 2015 for the first time. She is living in the small kenyan town Gilgil, one of 62 children of the “SAIDIA Children’s Home”. This day with Baraka marks the begin of all our aid work für physical handicapped children:
There, in the “SAIDIA-Home” we get to know more about Baraka’s biography. And we are moved:
Baraka is found by coincidence in summer 2009 by kenyan poilce in the bushes of the Nairobi-Nakuru-Highway. It’s obvious that she has just been born. Maybe she is only one or two days old. The umbilical cord can be seen.
The policemen bring her to hospital, where a severe back injury is identified. Diagnosis: Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus. Baraka is physical disabled. She is paraplegic.
After her first days in hospital an orphanage is found for her: the “SAIDIA-Children’s Home”, based in the small town of Gilgil, located in the Rift Valley.
“It was tough to go to hospital with her so often”, sagte Sarah Waweru, manager of “SAIDIA” remembers. “Because the next hospital is not nearby!”
“Why on earth does a mother dumb her newborn in the bushes?” We are stunned and speechless.
Sarah tells us, that in some kenyan tribes it’s still a believe that a birth of a handicapped baby brings a curse over the family. „And beleive you me: Out there are many Barakas!“, Sarah emphasizes. „It’s so sad and unbelievable how many newborn physical handicapped babies are found abandoned every day!“
We are shocked and moved. And happily amazed how Baraka deals with her situation: In front of us we see a smiling and laughing child. She seems to be a happy small 6 year old girl.
We are told that soon the new schoolyear will begin. For Baraka too. The nearby GILGIL SPECIAL SCHOOL is chosen for her, an institution specialized for children with special needs. But Baraka turns out to be a very smart and clever girl.
After only one year in that school we decide that she should rather go to a better school, and are very happy, when the headmaster of the so called “JOY TOWN SCHOOL” in Thika (a small town close to the capital Nairobi) informs us that he can offer a place for Baraka in his boarding school, which is nationwide renowned for its high standards. The “JOY TOWN SCHOOL” is specialized only on physical disabled children.
Barakas most favorite subjects are english, swahili and mathematics. She loves painting. Expecially with her most favourite colour: blue.
Her most favourite african animal is the elephant.
It’s sad – but true: In Kenya many newborn babies who are physical handicapped are abanonded. In some kenyan tribes people still believe that giving birth to a handicaped child will bring a curse over the family.
No professional care and assistance:
Tragically no centres can be found which care professionelly for one of the most vulnerable group of the Kenyan society: handicapped children. That’s why kenyan police, children offices, community workers and social workers of orphanages are overwhelmed with the professional treatment of such kind of children.
WE BUILD A RESCUE-CENTER!
Geert, Lena, Tim, Andreas, Dominik, Marc, Julian
More reasons why disabled babies and children are abandoned are:
– poverty: raising a physical handicapped child often overwhelms families and “single mothers”, who live in desperate poverty, especially teenage mothers,
– mentally ill mothers: they can’t care for a physical disabled child,
– eroding social system: In Kenya, more and more it can be registred that relatives refuse to take care of the the offspring of their extrended family.