Samuel was just 5 years old when he was abducted; Silas was 6 when he was taken from the area around his home and baby Favour was just a year and four months old when she was abducted from her Mother.

Welcome all, to the Safe Child Africa, Autumn Newsletter.

At this time of year, the nights are closing in and there’s a definite chill in the air, but it’s not all to do with the change in seasons - it’s also because of the spooks and scares of the recent Halloween celebrations.

Here at Safe Child Africa, we are all too aware that while many in the UK have spent the past few days dressing up and pretending to be witches, wizards and super-natural creatures - the painful plight of children in Nigeria, desperate to convince their communities that they are nothing of the sort - is unrelenting.

Child Witch Curtain Edited.jpg

“In short we want to spread the message far and wide, that no child is a witch; it’s never okay to brand a child a witch and there will be tough penalties and consequences for those that try.”

This Autumn, our newsletter highlights the work of our partners who continue to fight for these children: both those facing persecution and some, who have vanished without a trace.

Samuel was just 5 years old when he was abducted; Silas was 6 when he was taken from the area around his home and baby Favour was just a year and four months old when she was abducted from her Mother.

All of these children and countless others like them were abducted in 2015 in the Niger Delta region. And over 3 years on, each of them is still missing.

This week, our partners at Basic Rights Counsel Initiative (BRCI) launched a search appeal to help trace the whereabouts of 14 ‘stolen’ children: each one abducted from their families or homes.

Four of the 14 children abducted from Calabar in 2015. From left to right: Divine, Elijah, Samuel and baby Favour.

In every case the disappearance of these children was reported to the Police. However, little or no progress has been made into the recovery and safe return of any of these children.

In Cross Rivers State, where BRCI operate, children are vulnerable in just about every situation imaginable: in the streets, their homes, in schools, in their local communities. Sadly, attitudes towards child rights and the appropriate duty of care towards children, fall depressingly short of where they should be, as our Impact Report, demonstrates.

That the disappearance of these 14 children remains unsolved, their lives largely forgotten, also serves to exemplify the lack of regard and vulnerability that children in the Niger Delta face, each every and day.

And it shows we need to do more to help. Please help us now.

The work that you, our generous supporters have enabled us to shape, has created a life changing Emergency Accommodation Centre where previously there was none, together with a child protection service that is making a real and daily difference to broken, young lives.

However we see increasingly that work to tackle the other side of the problem - grass roots advocacy to target those who carry out the abuse - desperately needs to be stepped up, too.

Earlier this year, our partners at BRCI began developing a modest programme of advocacy that will engage grass roots communities, state government and the criminal justice system to advocate for real and meaningful change, with the aim of safeguarding all children and bringing about justice to victims of witchcraft accusations and child abuse.

At Safe Child Africa, we want to stand shoulder to shoulder with our partners at BRCI and PACT to give them greater power and leverage in engaging civil society, by creating a wider programme of community engagement events, publicity, workshops and debates that place the issue of child rights, welfare and safety of all children as the most and urgent topic of all, in civil society, in the Niger Delta.

In short we want to spread the message far and wide, that no child is a witch; it’s never okay to brand a child a witch and there will be tough penalties and consequences for those that try.

So this Autumn, don’t take fright, instead join us and help fight the abuse of children branded witches. There is no magic spell that can fix these problems, just the hard work Safe Child Africa and our partners put into changing hearts and minds.

If you are able to make a one off donation of £25.00 you will be standing shoulder to shoulder with us too, helping us to defend the rights of vulnerable children and create the futures they deserve.

Please do it, for Samuel, Silas, Favour. Please, help us make every child, a Safe Child.

With warmest wishes

James Trevett

Read next page

 







.

I