We would like to share with you this Christmas the story of Hannah, an 8-year-old pupil, one of the beneficiaries of the CHEP Program (Children’s Health Program).

When we first met Hannah, she was looking very sad and it was obvious there was something wrong with her. She had her checkup and soon we discovered that her mother used to beat her, abuse her and deny her food. Besides, she does not know her father. Most of the time she spent the night in school, hidden at a place where no one would see her, so as to stay away from the troubles at home. She would wake up at dawn before the school opened, walk to a nearby market and feed on bananas thrown out of the market to satisfy her hunger. She would also collect a few more to take to her 3-year-old sister.

We reported the matter to the Headmistress of her school who had no idea of her situation. She then reported the matter to the area chief, who took action and arrested the mother. When her mother was arrested, Hannah and her younger sister were accommodated in a children’s home temporarily. Hannah’s mother received counseling when she was in prison regarding her duty and responsibility towards the welfare of her children and was helped in her addiction to alcohol.

When she finished the sentence, she was offered a job to be able to sustain her family. She is now reunited with her children.

Hannah is a different, normal and happy girl. She says that her mother has changed and she no longer mistreats her.