2018 Autumn Appeal - Breaking free from the chains of abuse!

Children come to Kids Alive programmes around the world with every kind of background imaginable – abuse, abandonment, forced child labour, prostitution, refugee status, even survivors of natural disasters. And we are privileged to come alongside and demonstrate the love of Jesus as they begin the long road to wholeness.

From the tender age of 10, little Andrea* was sexually abused by her father. When she could take no more, she ran away to the home of a neighbour who reported the father to authorities, and from there she was sent to a children’s home for six months. It was during this time that her mother died of cancer, multiplying this little girl’s pain, sense of hopelessness, and confusion…

But the worst was still to come.

In a well-meaning attempt to keep Andrea with her extended family, authorities placed her in the home of her paternal uncle – her abuser’s brother. And in the cruelest of twists, her life quickly became even more horrific… Under her uncle’s “care”, Andrea was raped, drugged, prostituted, and forced to watch pornography with the men who paid her uncle for the chance to abuse her.

By the time another family member became aware of the abuse and reported the crimes, Andrea was not only emotionally and mentally shredded, she was pregnant. And it was then that the court transferred her to the safety of Oasis in Guatemala and she was enrolled in Kids Alive’s La Arquilla program.

Gently opening doors to healing

The Oasis receives so many girls like her, their young lives shattered by betrayal, violence, sexual assault, and lacking access to any kind of help.

“When Andrea first came here,” remembers her house mother, “she was very angry. She didn’t trust anyone and often had outbursts of emotion. She was anxious about everything, especially having enough food. But slowly she realized that there would always be enough and that she was safe and loved.”

On any given day, Oasis staff psychologist Ligia will see an average of six young survivors of sexual violence in her office. “One of the biggest challenges I have faced,” says Ligia, “is getting the girls to realize that they are not to blame. Abusers are often family members or close friends – people the child has had a relationship with for years. Regardless of the abuse, they feel they are to blame for being taken out of the home and for their abusers being punished.”

Like Andrea, many of the girls sit with Ligia for hours, even weeks, and have nothing to say. Some are angry and lash out, while others are just sad and withdrawn. A safe place is a concept totally foreign to them. But slowly, with patience and sensitivity, Ligia watches as they begin to open up and spill their pain. Only then can she begin to help them discover a new identity, the reality that “I am chosen. I am loved.”

“Sometimes, after a very long day,” Ligia explains, “I will think I am not doing anything to help. But then I get in my car and I see a girl smile or hold the hand of a friend. One little thing. And I am reminded that God will redeem and restore.”

Two precious lives in a safe place

One of the many tragedies of Andrea’s story was that she had received almost no education. But she is now working hard in an accelerated program and will soon have caught up with her peers. And she is being visited regularly by a mentor family who comes to visit, play, and rejoice with her as they watch her daughter grow. 

“I want to be a good role model for my daughter,” says Andrea. “I want her to go to school and to know that she can do anything she wants and make it through anything that happens to her.”

We want to make sure that children all over the world, children like Andrea and her baby, know the hope of a bright future. Your support makes it possible, and they are grateful. Please, send a generous gift today to give the children Jesus loves a lasting, even eternal future!  Donate here.

We also welcome cheques made payable to Kids Alive International International.

You can also make your gift by credit card today by going to www.hopeforkids.co.ukand clicking on www.hopeforkids.co.uk/donate or calling 0330 2020275 and providing card details over the phone (most internationally-issued cards).

Thank you.

More about Guatemala click here.

* name changed to protect privacy

Posted on November 12th 2018

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