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Rafiki Mwema
Rafiki Mwema means 'Loyal Friend' (in Swahili) and that is what we are to these young girls and boys. The impact of sexual abuse and the horrific circumstances around the lack of care and support for our children is heart breaking. In our 'family' we have little girls as young as two years old, up to teenagers who are now fifteen and at school. There is such stigma attached to a child who has been raped, in a culture that places blame on those who have suffered and ignores the perpetrators of these heinous crimes. We know that working with the girls is dealing with the outcome and not the initial problem. It is this approach and our connection with some local street boys in Kenya that led us to open our first boys project two years ago. We now have two houses where we therapeutically support boys who have survived the horrors of living alone on the streets, some from the tender age of five years old. These boys have been beaten, abused and used as sexual playmates for both men and women, often for the price of a cup of tea. They suffer all this without support and we know that without intervention and proper therapeutic care, they could go on to continue this cycle of abuse. At Rafiki Mwema we work with our boys and educate them to respect themselves and others. We give them the values to become safe brothers, husbands, uncles and fathers. All our children live as one 'Rafiki family', but in separate houses. They are therapeutically parented and receive regular therapy as individuals and in groups. They are supported to have safe contact with their families. Above all they are loved. We work with their families, the communities, schools, churches, villages, and government officials with the aim to break this cycle of abuse and let children live as children should. We are totally committed to supporting children who have experienced things we could not even imagine, to help heal their trauma and allow them to grow to love and be loved.
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Rafiki Mwema is in position #589 in the Australia Community Grant category

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