Mary was 13 years old and living on the streets when we met her.
This is her story…
Mary’s family life was not a happy one. Her father is an alcoholic. The family lived in poverty and the little money they did get was quickly spent on feeding his habit. Mary was sent to stay with her elder sister when her father became abusive, but even then the situation continued to escalate and the poverty worsened. With no active foster care system or formal help available, Mary had no way to escape.
Eventually, at 12 years old, Mary gathered the courage to leave. She moved to town and lived on the streets, looking for small jobs to survive. At night Mary slept in bus shelters or under small shopping stalls.
We met Mary one year later. She was a miserable and timid street child with no dreams or education. Mary was very vulnerable to being trafficked – our staff think it’s amazing that she lasted so long on the street without being taken. After getting to know Mary and validating her story, she moved in to our Arua safe home and joined the Hope Street family.
That was three years ago. Today, Mary is excelling in school. Last year she scored the top mark in her class! She loves playing netball and skipping rope. Mary is healthy, happy, and she calls her house-mother ‘Mum’ and the other children her siblings.
Recently our staff have been making trips with Mary to visit her sister and relatives. While it may not be possible for Mary to be completely repatriated to her family home, we’re working to re-build the family relationships.
There are many other children like Mary living in our safe home. Unfortunately we’re low on funding this year – at the time of this post we’re short by $5000 NZD to cover basic project costs for 2015. Mary and the other children need assistance, if you can help please visit www.hopestreet.org/donate to give. Over 90% of each donation goes to the field!
Mary (right) in her bedroom.
Mary playing the drums.