As the end of the year is approaching, we are concerned about the future of the centre.
We have children in the centre which has made life very busy with different cases. Despite relentlessly posting on Twitter (@CREER_RCI ) and on our Facebook group we’re finding it difficult to access funding from public or private donors. We’re in need of help from outside as our bank account is dwindling.
We have children in our care, the process isn’t an easy one. The first child is a young girl of 6.5 years, she’s from Burkina Faso and for someone who has had such a short life, it’s incredible what she has been through. She was trafficked by her ‘aunt’ who we don’t believe is a blood relative & put to work by this woman. The work entailed keeping the house clean, doing the laundry by hand and then selling sachets of water around town, walking up to 10kilometres per day, carrying about 30litres of water on her head during the course of the day. She wasn’t fed, the neighbour’s daughter aged 9 found her eating from the rubbish bins locally and reported this to her mother who then approached our centre to follow up the situation. Not only did we find that she was working but she was also found being badly mistreated by her employer, who rubbed chilli pepper into her eyes and private parts as punishment.
Thanks to the local police & prosecutor, she was taken from the ‘aunt’ and placed into our care, very thin, dirty & bewildered. Her first few weeks were difficult, she didn’t trust anyone, threw rocks, stones & anything she could find at our staff and got very angry when we placed our bin out of her reach, as she was always trying to eat from it whilst food was being prepared. We had a problem clothing her with our donated clothes as she was so small, so two new dresses were made by our tailor in town and she was given her own washkit and shoes. She went for medical tests and it was discovered she had worms, anemia, her ears were full of muck but little by little she has settled in although we need to get more help from a psychologist. She now trusts everyone at the centre and enjoys art thanks to our amazing current Australian volunteer. Daily life is spent on the swing, playing as a normal little girl in and around the centre and watering her plastic bottle garden where she is growing her own vegetable plants in 3 plastic bottles. She’s just started school for the first time in her life, which she adores, her French conversation is becoming more coherent as she arrived only speaking Dioula.
By mid-July a second young girl arrived, aged approximately 10 years old, she spent 24hours at the centre. She was repatriated to her Ivorian family a few hours north of the centre the same week.
Another case of a teenage Togolese boy happened during the same week. Our police ambushed three traffickers just after they brought him over the border and within two weeks, they were given 10 year sentences. The Togolese boy went into the care of the Togolese community before being repatriated home.
Sadly we have another 13 year old Burkinabe in the centre who lives ‘alone’ speaking Moré only it’s a very quiet life, not a word of French, Dioula, Bambara or Agni; no one can communicate. Kidnapped about six months ago then trafficked we are desperate to find the family and repatriate, but currently our funds don’t allow it. We’re reliant on the generosity of a Moré-speaking friend who is currently in transit to Burkina Faso and will try to track down the family.
Are you able to assist us? Know anyone who may be interested in the work we do? Please do get in touch!