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: there just wasn’t enough money coming in to put food on the table. Faced with the heartbreaking reality of watching their child starve, Mary's parents made the difficult decision to send her to live with a guardian and work as a maid. They placed their trust in the guardian to protect Mary, ensure she wouldn't go hungry and keep her safe. That trust, however, was betrayed. For the next 7 years Mary endured a living nightmare of ongoing physical abuse, week in - week out. Mary was given neither comfort or peace and instead lived in constant fear of when the next round of beatings might take place.
"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 the Emergency Safe-house Shelter in Calabar, there’s no telling what might have happened to Mary.
Having been informed about Mary’s situation they were able to remove her from the guardian’s house and place her in our new Emergency Safe-house Shelter Accommodation while her case was fully investigated and her parents traced, to a nearby village.
Unfortunately, the village in which Mary’s parents were living was not considered safe and after everything that Mary had been through in her short life, it was decided that returning to her parents was not in Mary's best interests. Following consultation with her parents, and their agreement, a long term foster carer was found.
Mary is now living with her foster carer where she will be carefully monitored by the team at Basic Rights Counsel Initiative.
Safe Child Africa September 2017