“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.”
(1 Corinthians 16: 13&14)
Thank you for your continued support of children with disabilities in Kenya and Tanzania. I especially appreciate those of you who contributed to Kupenda in honor of my 63 year-old father who passed away this March…Richard M. Bauer Jr. I am grateful that many children in Kenya had the opportunity to play the games with my dad that he used to play with my siblings and me. Since they know Kupenda’s existence is connected with my dad’s support of me, some say they mourn the loss of their grandfather. This Father’s Day, we want to continue to honor my dad by supporting children without fathers and encouraging more father’s to truly love their children.
As I continue to grieve my father’s death, I think a lot about the many children we support whose fathers are uninvolved in their lives. It may sound silly for me to say as a grown woman but my dad’s death makes me feel a bit unprotected. I realize that this is not just a feeling for so many of the children we love in Kenya. The sad reality is many actually lack the paternal security I took for granted. The recent rape of a ten year-old girl with cerebral palsy is just one example of this kind of vulnerability.
This girl, my sweet friend, is in our sponsorship program and does not walk or talk. Since she cannot run away or cry for help, she is a prime target for sexual predators. My sweet friend was staying home from school due to an injury caused by an alleged rape attempt weeks before from a different man. Neighbors knew she was alone when a man entered her hut and raped her. Hours later her mother came home to a bleeding and traumatized child. Neighbors identified the perpetrator and he was arrested. It bothers me that they could identify him but did not stop him. I believe this is an example of a pervasive problem in many communities in which we operate. There is a lack of parental care and community support for children with disabilities like my sweet friend. As a result, we also lost two children due to this kind of neglect in January.