NAIROBI – The Children’s department has rescued a seven-year-old girl from an abusive family in Subukia, Nakuru County.
The Standard One pupil at Blestar Junior Academy has been placed in a children’s home after members of the family shunned and mistreated her, saying she was a bad omen because her mother died after giving birth to her.
“We have gathered from neighbours and her teachers that the mother died four hours after giving birth to her,” said County Children’s Coordinator Mongare Mwambi.
Mr Mwambi added that the girl, whose identity is withheld because she is a minor, reported the abuse to her teachers.
She is the last born in a family of 10. She has visible injuries on the face, neck, hands and her private parts, allegedly inflicted by a hot-rod.
Mwambi told The Standard yesterday that they picked up the child from school on Wednesday and placed her under government care as they investigate the matter.
“We have rescued a girl from her parents where she was subjected to torture on grounds that she is behind the death of her mother,” he said.
The girl was taken to Nairobi Women Hospital in Nakuru where doctors carried out a series of tests.
Doctors at the hospital said the girl appears traumatised.
“She requires counselling and therapy and also further tests will be done on her, “ said a medic who sought anonymity.
Mwambi said they were looking for the girl’s father.
“We need to talk to the father because the minor is badly injured. He should explain why the minor was subjected to torture attributed to bad omen despite her being in his custody,” said the government officer.
The father is said to be a cleric at a local church. The Standard was independently unable to trace him.
The children’s department said the girl was taken in by her aunt, who lived in Nairobi after her mother died.
“The aunt took her back to her family in Subukia in January this year, saying she could no longer maintain her. Nobody has been kind to the minor. Her aunt claimed her stay made her suffer (so) she took her back to her family,” Mwambi said.
The girl told The Standard that her other siblings have not been kind to her too.
“My brother attacked me claiming I had refused to help him prepare a meal,” she said.
Explaining in details about the torture in the hands of family members, the girl said whenever she did anything wrong, she was forced to crawl on her stomach.
“There was a time one of my brothers directed me to breathe in so that my stomach could enlarge. He then hit me on the stomach, saying I was rude and arrogant,” she said.
According to her, the frequent beating occurred in the presence of all other siblings who never bothered to rescue her. “My siblings are so harsh on me. They beat me all the time and even deny me meals,” she said.
An employee at the school told The Standard that the pupil opened up to her about the horrors she was going through.
The employee said a teacher noticed that the minor had difficulty walking, had a swollen face and injuries on several parts of her body.
She revealed that the minor’s siblings had on several occasions threatened to kill her, saying she killed their mother.
“I was touched when the girl told me that her brothers said she killed her mother. I shed tears,” said the employee.
At home, she is routinely denied meals and when she is given, it is never enough.
Being motherly, the school employee would give her a cup of tea and ugali every morning.
When she joined the school in January this year, her performance was excellent and she had a good command of English. This has since taken a turn for the worst.
“At times the child writes with difficulties and shakes. What happened to her good performance is questionable. She was fluent in both spoken and written English, but that has gradually faded,” observed the employee.
Director to the school Zacharia Nding’ori Mwangi said the minor’s father has been paying school fees and often dropped and picked the minor to and from school without fail.
“The child’s father has been so good apart from the small issue that was reported. He has taken care of the child after the death of her mother as a single parent,” said Mr Mwangi.
Eric Lang’at, an officer at a Children’s Home where the minor is, said she was traumatised and required treatment.
“The girl is badly traumatised, she has physical injuries that should be treated,” he said.