Today we have a fantastic success story to share
Meet Mourine. Mourine arrived at Future Stars at the end of 2014, with a traumatic story to tell. Her father had died, due to HIV/AIDS, when Mourine was very young. During 2014, her mother remarried to another HIV+ partner. Sadly, this man was more interested in Mourine than her mother and the teenager became a victim of repeated rape. She arrived at Future Stars, at the request of her mother, in order to give her some safety.
Mourine’s stepfather passed away a few months later and Mourine briefly returned to live with her mother. However, it soon became apparent that her mother was too sick to take care of a teenage girl so Mourine returned to the centre.
The first time I really sat down to talk to Mourine was in January 2016. She is one of the many children whose stories have made me cry when I’m alone at the end of a day. She was a very quiet, shy, and polite child, but she has the most beautiful smile. Much of the time she has appeared older than her years, probably due to everything she has suffered. Yet when she feels safe, and when someone shows that they care, she lights up in a way that is a delight to see.
Anyway, Mourine’s story has both ended and begun today. She has left Future Stars to live with relatives in Nakuru, a large town approximately 6 hours drive to the west of Nairobi. She will now complete her education and step into independent adulthood with the support of family.
Future Stars is not a children’s home. Future Stars is a rescue centre. This means that it exists to provide assistance to children in difficulty, danger, or disadvantage. When a child arrives to live at Future Stars, it is just the beginning of a journey. Much effort is expended in the search for relatives or family friends who are willing to accept the child into their home. The final transfer of a child into the guardianship of others comes with strict conditions. It is important that the family are able to provide for the child. This includes good nutrition and a guarantee of education.
Foremost in everyone’s thoughts is doing the best for the child. Sometimes this means they need to remain at Future Stars. Yet we always hope that there will be a chance for family to become involved. In Mourine’s case, this has been possible and she has moved on to her new life with her relatives.
Whilst Future Stars does provide a loving and stable home, the centre is no real replacement for a family. This is particularly true in a country where family values remain integral to society. Being a part of the family means a support network that goes on for a lifetime – something that Future Stars could never provide.
So, whilst we will miss Mourine very much, it is a great day for this wonderful young woman. We can only wish her all the best for the future and, of course, we hope she will stay in touch as she steps out into the world to become an adult with her family around her.