An 8-year-old girl raped on the streets.
A mother murdered her 9-month-old baby.
A boy sexually abused a younger boy.
An 9-year-old boy killed another child.
A young mother has been trying to kill her 6-month-old baby that she's kept hidden from her new husband.
These tragedies were all spread over the course of a week. They're extreme. Getting news of yet another emergency is crushing and draining. Sadly, the perpetrators are themselves victims. The emotional response isn't so clear cut. Apportioning anger to individuals seems misguided; the community is at fault. Something is broken.
This same brokenness allows 5 small children to live in an abandoned shack, crying from starvation, with their mothers living within walking distance. We're co-ordinating the response now, but their families want nothing to do with them. They won't take them or feed them.
Broken families and communities drive children to the streets or to work in their village. This week we saw numerous kids out of school because the needs of today outweigh the future. The brokenness means such obvious problems are ignored.
For every one child or young woman we find, there are more. At Sepheo, we are not hopeless and we're not overwhelmed. Every child and young woman we have reached was once just as desperate as those we met this week. Our team has more energy than ever to do whatever it takes to include the excluded, to bring excellence out of poverty. We know how to reach them and we know it can get better. What Sepheo does works. Now we need to do more of it.
This week, we're planning on bringing those 5 children to school, even though they're below our minimum age. They need a place to be loved. We are opening more places to kids who are on the street. We don't have room, but we'll make a way. The promise of Sepheo School is often the catalyst for a child to leave the street for good.
It's not a vain hope. What we do works. This realisation makes every interaction and decision so stark. If we ignore or give up on someone, that is often the end for the child. No one else is there to pick up the pieces. But those who have been in our school for any amount of time are different. They are better, even though they live in the same communities with the same pressures. They're not just better in relation to their former selves, either. One of our volunteers is a business-owner. She says our long-term students are far ahead of the general population. They are the type she seeks out to employ. They're dependable and thoughtful. They've learned to deal with adversity and conflict. This is what it means to bring excellence out of poverty.
We're ready to go. We'd love you to join us.