Just twelve days before Christmas, a small boy is pushed gently through the doors of Future Stars by his aunt. He looks exhausted, terrified, and soul-crushingly sad. This is Laurence, 8-years-old and fleeing for his life. Thankfully, Mama Aggy is on hand to open her arms (and her heart) to this weary and frightened little boy. And so Laurence became a part of the family at Future Stars.
Tragedy for little Laurence
Laurence was born in 2008 and began his life in a fairly stable home, with both his parents present and his basic needs being met as well as the important element of being loved.
Sadly, this little boy was soon to discover the darker side of life.
Aged just 4-years-old, Laurence was involved in a road accident whilst travelling with his parents. Tragically, neither his mother nor his father survived the accident, and Laurence was left orphaned. In just a brief moment, Laurence’s world collapsed.
And so it was that Laurence arrived in Kibera, aged 4, to live with his maternal aunt and her husband.
Abuse and Neglect – A Lost Childhood
Despite the love of his aunt, Laurence’s life in Kibera deteriorated very quickly.
Laurence’s uncle resented the presence of his nephew, perhaps partly due to the additional financial strain placed on the household. When barely surviving hand-to-mouth, the arrival of another person to clothe, to feed, and to care for was perhaps too much for Laurence’s uncle.
Given little to eat and with no hope of an education, life was already looking grim for a little boy who had only just lost his parents. But worse was to come when Laurence’s uncle became physically abusive. The boy’s suffering was hidden for several years, with his aunt too afraid to seek help. However today, with Laurence now 8-years-old, the situation could no longer remain a secret.
Upon leaving the house on the morning of December 13th 2016, Laurence’s uncle gave an ultimatum.
He informed Laurence, and his aunt, that if the boy was still in the house upon his return in the evening, he would kill the child.
The Rescue of Laurence
Thankfully, Laurence’s aunt was able to approach the tribal chief who recommended that Laurence be brought to Future Stars.
Upon arrival, it quickly became apparent that all was not well. Laurence’s right arm is visibly deformed and his range of movement significantly reduced. He complains of some pain although it is clear from his presentation that he is in more pain that he is admitting.
The story then came out – Laurence’s uncle had broken the boy’s arm on more than one occasion, leaving it to heal without medical attention. His elbow and shoulder have also been dislocated several times with no intervention.
The Present and the Future
Laurence is also suffering from malnutrition. He has the swollen abdomen common amongst children who have lacked sufficient food for some time. His growth has also been stunted as a result and he is very small for his eight years.
Laurence’s first meal at Future Stars was a plate of plain rice and a cup of Fermila. It will likely be some time before he can manage an acceptable amount and variety of food. Malnourished children can have real difficulty adapting to a good diet and the introduction of this diet must proceed very carefully.
Laurence will also need medical attention to assess the nature of the injury to his arm and to determine any treatment that will be required. It is unknown at this time if Laurence will ever regain full function in his right arm.
Laurence has had a rough day…and a rough life. At 8-years-old he has seen and experienced more than any child should. We can only hope that the care he will receive at Future Stars will be enough to give this little boy the childhood he deserves. Today, his eyes are filled with pain and sadness and fear. It is heartbreaking to see. Laurence is now safe, but his future remains uncertain as we wait to see if he has the resilience to overcome the horrors of his past.
We are now looking for a sponsor for Laurence. Someone who can help to ensure he gets the treatment he needs as well as all the love and care that the centre can provide. Laurence has a long journey ahead of him and it remains to be seen if he can regain the childhood that he has so far been denied. Sponsorship costs just over £1 a day and makes a huge difference. Just showing Laurence that there are people who care about him is something that will be of so much importance to his recovery.