About our children
To look at our children’s happy smiling faces here, it’s hard to believe the depths of misery they have come from. We’re including some of their stories to illustrate how valuable and much needed Restart is, but we’ve changed their names to protect their privacy.
Sylvia’s HIV positive mother died immediately after giving birth to her. Baby Sylvia was handed over to distant relatives, who gave her to another family when she was three. This family made her cook, clean, do the laundry and look after the house. The men in the family would regularly beat and sexually abuse her. When she was around 6 or 7 years old she was gang raped, beaten, and then dumped in a secluded area of wasteland, her battered body left for dead. She was found by a passerby who immediately took her to hospital. The police were informed, and after recovering in hospital she was taken to a safe house in Naivasha. In 2012 she arrived at Restart. She has flourished under our care, and is now a happy twelve-year-old, doing well at school.
When Mark (now 14), was a newborn baby, he was dumped in a drainage ditch at the side of the road in a town about 100 miles from Gilgil. Whoever dumped him clearly hoped he would drown as the ditches flood during rain. Luckily he was found and taken to the local hospital. The hospital then sold him to a disabled woman who could not have any children of her own, and when Mark was around 18 months old the woman moved to Gilgil, and started to abuse him. She made him sleep in a goat shed at the back of her shack, and would regularly beat him, once so badly that she fractured his skull. She starved him, and made him work long hours. Mark believed that the woman was planning to kill him, so one night he escaped and made his way to Gilgil police station, where he told them what had been going on. Mark stayed at the police station for two weeks before Restart could take him in, and is now settled and healthy there.
David’s mother was only 17 years old. She was also a drunk, a drug addict and a prostitute. When David was two, she had another baby boy, and when he was just a week old she locked both children alone in a house for two days and nights. They had no food, water or lighting. Their crying eventually attracted the attention of neighbours, who broke down the door and rescued them. They found David eating soil from the floor, and both children were severely neglected and malnourished. After a month in hospital, they were taken into Restart. The mother was arrested but was eventually released without charge. Tragically, the baby was too sick, and died within a few weeks of being brought to us. The mother turned up at his funeral drunk, and has never made any effort to find out about how David, now just three, is doing. We’re delighted to report that he is in fact doing really well under Restart’s care.
Marsha, aged two, has three older siblings aged between four and eight. They all came to Restart in the Summer of 2015. They originally lived with their parents in a town about 60 km from Gilgil, where the father was physically abusive to the mother, even raping her in front of the children. Eventually she could take it no longer and decided to leave, taking the children with her. She relocated to Gilgil and managed to get work doing laundry to support the children. The father then traced the family, and lay in wait for his estranged wife as she made her way home from work. Armed with a large knife, he launched a frenzied attack on her, decapitating her in front of several school children, who tried to intervene by throwing rocks at him. He then handed himself in at Gilgil police station. The children were initially taken in by an elderly great grandmother, but she was too frail to look after them, so asked Restart to take care of them. The father will spend the rest of his life in jail.
Lisa, now 16, comes from a very unstable background with constant arguments and violence between her parents. One day her mother tried to run away, and put the smallest baby on her back to take with her. The father hit the baby, killing it instantly, in front of the ten year old Lisa. After the mother’s subsequent departure, the father ended up abandoning Lisa and her five remaining younger siblings. Lisa tried to bring up the children and provide for them. She would beg food from neighbours and eventually turned to prostitution to get money for her younger brothers and sisters.
Lisa and the siblings then discovered they had a grandfather living nearby who took them in. He lived in a remote shack, and also turned out be a drunk, violent man. Before long he decided that the children were too much of a burden and he no longer wanted to look after them – so he plotted to kill them. He fed them food which he had poisoned, and the children who were starving, gratefully ate it. Within minutes, all of them were unconscious, and were left to die by the grandfather. By pure chance a local cattle herder saw the five children lying on the floor foaming at the mouth. He raised the alarm and the children were taken to hospital, where two of the children died. Lisa and her two remaining siblings were in a critical condition, and spent many months in hospital recovering. The grandfather was never traced. Upon their release from hospital Lisa and the other siblings were sent to live with some distant relatives, but Lisa ran away taking her two year old brother with her. She intended to walk to Gilgil to try and locate an older brother who she knew lived there in a children’s home. They arrived in Gilgil, hungry, tired and exhausted, and made their way to Restart, where they were taken in and reunited with their brother.