Mary was just 8 years old when her parents sent her away to live with a guardian.
Like many families in Nigeria who live in abject poverty, Mary’s family were poor. And there simply wasn’t enough money coming in to be able to feed and clothe a growing child. The heartbreaking decision to send Mary to live with the guardian and work as a maid, was made with the best interests of their daughter. Mary’s parents placed their trust in the guardian to ensure Mary wouldn’t go hungry and would be provided for with the basic essentials. However that trust was shattered, when, for the next 7 years Mary was subjected to a torrent of ongoing physical abuse week, in and week out. Mary was neither given comfort or peace and instead lived day to day fearful of when the next round of beatings would begin.
"The situation for Mary hit an all time low when, aged 15, she was raped by a neighbour living close by."
If it hadn’t been for our aid workers, at Basic Rights Counsel Initiative in Calabar, there’s no telling what might have happened to Mary next.
Having been informed about Mary’s situation they were able to remove her from the guardian’s house and place her in our new ‘SafetyNet’ Emergency Accommodation Shelter while her the case was fully investigated and her parents, traced to a nearby village.
Unfortunately, the village in which Mary’s parents were living was subject to a great deal of communal violence and it was decided, after everything that the young girl had been through, returning to her parents was not in her best interests. Following consultation with Mary’s parents and their agreement, a foster carer was found.
Mary is now living with her foster carer where she will be carefully monitored by the team at BRCI.