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Appeal for Angela
I feel numb writing this. Angela is just ten years old, the age of my youngest daughter. She’s sweet, animated, trusting. But over the course of just three days last weekend, Angela was brutally raped multiple times, changing her life forever.
Last Friday after school, she was playing with two of her friends down by the river in the Mathare Slums when an old man called them over and said he had sweets. He then pulled them into his shack, undressed them and raped them all.
Afterwards, he got a bucket of the filthy river water that’s used as a toilet for the 400,000 people living in Mathare, and told them to wash themselves, get dressed and go.
The next afternoon, Angela’s mum went out to look for work, leaving Angela home alone, when a man known to the family came into the house. He put his hand tight over Angela’s mouth and, he too, raped her.
Then, the following day, Angela was told by her friend that she had to go and see the old man by the river again – if she didn’t, she’d be in trouble. The old man kept Angela prisoner that evening and, this time, he raped her repeatedly. She returned home just before midnight in the pouring rain, cold, wet, distressed and in agony.
The heartbreaking thing is that Angela didn’t scream because she was terrified. She didn’t tell her mum because she thought it was her fault and that she’d get into trouble. She went back to the man by the river because he’d warned her he’d tell her family.
Children in Mathare don’t have a voice, they don’t have protection and they have no knowledge of their rights. Parents are expected to discipline their children through beatings and it’s the same at school. Angela was so much pain from being raped, she didn’t want more pain from her mother beating her for doing something wrong.
Yet Angela is luckier than her friends – her family had just been enrolled on Tushinde’s family support scheme. When Angela refused to go to school, her mum called her Tushinde social worker, who listened and counselled Angela for two hours until she opened up about her harrowing ordeal. With Tushinde’s support Angela was taken to the clinic for a check up and for emergency STD protection.
Angela is still traumatised by what happened to her, but we’ll ensure she gets the treatment and counselling she needs to recover and we’ve re-housed the family so she’s safe from her attackers. We’re also determined to find Angela’s friends so that they, too, get the help they need.
Tragically, there are many more children like Angela and her friends. But at Tushinde we teach children about sexual violence and how to avoid dangerous situations. Most importantly, we’re there to help if they’re raped or assaulted. But what we really, really want to do is make sure that rape never happens in the first place.
That’s why we desperately need your help to reach more children like Angela and get them the right treatment and support. We also need your help to reach more children so that we can teach them how to protect themselves.
£30 will give a child a place on our prevention of sexual violence course
£50 can provide emergency housing for a child or family who need to be protected from their abusers
£100 will support our child protection officer for a week; her work in the field is essential
£200 can pay for one of our social workers to attend further training
£300 is enough to organise a community meeting where we can speak up for the rights of the child
Please, please click here to donate to our Appeal for Angela campaign and continue Tushinde’s vital work.
We all need to do whatever we can to prevent children suffering such injustice. But if we are going to extend our work beyond the families already on our scheme, we desperately need your support.
On behalf of all the children in the slums who don’t have a voice, thank you.
(This article was edited on 19th April, we will update the progress for Angela and her family in the coming weeks)