By Martha Sunda - Executive Director, Childline Kenya
The strength of Childline Kenya’s work lies in its partnerships. Partners play a critical role in all aspects of delivery of our services. Partners go far beyond our funding partners and child protection service providers and comprise of members of the community including children themselves. The community is a critical partnership base that usually notices a child protection concern first, and decides to seek help on behalf of the child in need to ensure the child situation changes positively. These are great champions in child protection. I’d like to share with you one case of a community child protection champion who took the burden on behalf of a 3-month old abandoned baby.
In a town on the western side of Kenya a baby was heard crying by a neighbor for a long time, almost an hour. The neighbor wondered about this unusual occurrence and went to check whether the baby was OK or whether the mother needed assistance with the baby. The neighbor found the baby left alone in the single-roomed house on the floor with only some tattered cloth around him and visibly shaking from the cold. The baby was 3 months old. The neighbour panicked and called the Child Helpline service by dialing 116. The counselor on the other end of the line calmed her down and gave her step by step instructions on how to handle the situation. At the counselor’s instruction she wrapped the baby in a blanket to keep him warm and also gave him some milk to calm him down. While she calmed the baby down, the helpline counselor got in touch with the nearest children officer in the area to assist with reporting the case to the police and to facilitate placement of the child in a safe shelter as they trace his mother or other relatives. The life of this baby was thus saved, thanks to the concern of the child protection champion aka neighbor.
We therefore appreciate all our partners including those who take action to report the cases and bring relief to children in need; those who provide direct services to children in need of care and protection; those who provide technical support to increasingly improve Childline Kenya’s efficiency and effectiveness; and the funding partners who ensure there’s adequate funding to keep the Child Helpline service functional with qualified counselors 24/7. Indeed, it takes a village to raise a child.
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