By Rebecca Pratt, President & Co-Founder
While in Liberia this last month, a 22 year old single mom with a four month old baby girl showed up at our office door. She asked me to please take her baby because her breast milk was all dried up, due to a lack of money to buy food for herself. She said her baby cries all night due to hunger and she can’t bear her child suffering any longer. She has been trying to find work, but no one has hired her and she is going to be evicted by the end of the month.
In talking more intently with her, I found out that the ‘baby daddy’ is an older man she had been sleeping with to get her school fees paid for through high school. In 12th grade she got pregnant, had to quit school to deliver and take care of her baby, and sadly ‘baby daddy’ no longer wants her around, nor will he help her financially due to not wanting to associate with a baby people might suspect as his. Her parents also do not want to help her. In Liberia there is no legal recourse for this man, and DNA testing is not available to prove this is the father. So the young lady is destitute and desperate enough to give her baby away. We have made arrangements to get this young lady the help she needs, yet it will not be an easy road for her.
Sleeping with men to simply pay school fees and get food to survive is all too common in the places where we work. Many of the girls on our program would be faced with similar circumstances had we not intervened.
As we continue our child protection efforts in Liberia and Benin, I am daily amazed by the transformational stories of each child on our program.
Many who were once close to death before our intervention, are now teenagers with a whole new restored life thanks to our Programs team, and all of you who give and pray for these efforts.
Reflecting on what God has done with these children is incredible. The orphanage homes we have worked with over the years, particularly in Liberia, are far from what our western standards look like, yet health is seen in the eyes of every redeemed child. I am constantly teased by the children in Liberia (an english-speaking country) for my regular use of the word “AMAZING”. They chant the word whenever they see me. Yet, honestly there is no other word to describe where these kids have come from, and where they are now.