9 Years old Runs to Protect Children
Martha is a single mother living in Tulid, Sabah. In her forties, she makes baskets to help pay for her school-going children as her swollen joints prevent her from working in the fields. Life hasn’t been easy for Martha. When she was a child, she was mentally, physically and sexually abused. Then after getting married and raising a family, her husband raped one of their young daughters, Jenny*. A schoolteacher had noticed a change in Jenny, and upon discovering what happened, brought the issue to the village head. The village head decided to report the issue to the police, an unusual occurrence in the community (normally the perpetrator only appears before the village head, pays a fine and does not have to face jail time). Today, Martha lives alone. Her husband is serving time in prison for the rape and her other children are living elsewhere, with relatives or in homes. Jenny has moved to Kota Kinabalu, where she works in a supermarket.
World Vision is working closely with communities in Tulid, Sabah to raise awareness on child protection. It has been learnt that many cases of abuse, whether sexual, physical or emotional, go unreported due to the issue being considered taboo. Children are often abused by the ones closest to them, and they do not dare to, or know how to tell someone about it. The organisation is working with children to educate them on their rights and where they can go to seek help. Child protection awareness sessions for local leaders, schools and families will be conducted as well. It is hoped that through the awareness sessions, families and communities will begin to speak up for children, and find ways to protect them from such abuses. For Martha, World Vision staff members conduct home visits, providing emotional and practical support. Join Duncan Chen in supporting child protection programmes and initiatives in Tulid, so children can grow up in fullness of life and without fear.
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