From her early work to keep children off the streets in Kenya, to her determination to stand up for struggling mothers and prevent baby abandonment, she is a shining example of the caring force that drives our work.
Families want to care for their children. But many parents aren’t aware that institutions harm children and affect their emotional and physical development. And for unsupported and desperate mothers, placing their baby in an institution may feel like their only choice.
Thanks to you, Grace’s tireless work in Kenya is helping to create a more informed and caring environment for over 2,000 mothers every year – through parenting sessions with local maternity services, parenting support groups, family celebration days and community outreach. It’s part of our early preventative approach to stop family separation.
By focusing on family strengthening and support with Pumwani maternity hospital over the last seven years, Grace has seen the number of babies abandoned at the hospital significantly reduce.
“There is huge potential within families and communities. When we gather with parents we’ve been working with on our family celebration days, we give them space to interact, to give feedback, and receive a practical gift. Despite limited resources, they’ve been working hard to meet their children’s needs. It’s the first time someone has celebrated their efforts.”
This year, the family celebration day still went ahead, although the number of families involved was carefully managed. It provided a much-needed chance for parents to gather together and discuss how they were coping in challenging circumstances – and offered a much-needed break from the pressures of lockdown. None of this would be possible without you.
With your help, Grace wants to scale up similar support networks across Kenya and grow a community volunteer and mentorship programme to help more families. She’s also keen to support more teenage mothers, who require additional services.
“I want to say thank you to our supporters. You’ve made a difference to the life of a child, by believing that all children can grow up in a loving and safe family. Because all children should be loved. They should feel like a child and have a sense of belonging.”
In order for us to continue to fight for every child’s right to a family and keep families together, we need your support more than ever. The coronavirus pandemic is threatening family security, with increased poverty placing a huge strain on families already struggling to meet their children’s needs. More parents around the world may be forced to give up their children to harmful institutions.
With you by our side, we can increase our efforts in countries like Kenya to prevent neglect and abandonment, support parents through the pandemic and change the lives of vulnerable children everywhere.
Photography: ©Lumos / Robert Muindi