Beatrice Malika: Why I Left a Well-Paying Job to Take Care of Slum and Street Children

Photo provided by Beatrice Malika

Beatrice Malika runs a school called the Glory Christian Education Centre and also founded Glory Christian Rescue Home for sexually abused children. A mother of two children aged 17 and 12, Beatrice realized her love for children as a child herself. She often gave things to other children at random. This is her story in her own words.

I am the lastborn of seven siblings. When I was born, my parents were still together; they were still married. So at a tender age, my mum left me and went back to school to continue her doctorate. She was a doctor. I was left in the hands of my father and my grandparents and a house girl together with my older sisters, and it was not easy as a child.

Most times I try to remember about my childhood, and I didn’t know where my mom went. So as a child, I would sit in a corner and wonder when I [saw] my cousins with their mums. I desired to know what happened to my mum. And every time I asked my sisters, who are much older than me, where Mum was and what happened to her, they would silence me and say, “She will come.” So as a child, I grew up without my mum and it took quite a while [before] I saw her.

Meeting Mum

By the time I met her for the first time, I was around 9 years old. I had already resolved that [my life was] like I did’t have a mother, which to me was kind of weird. When I met her she had came to visit. As she was leaving, I followed her crying because I couldn’t believe she was leaving, and yet I wanted to be with her and experience that motherly love and care. She was leaving again for an unknown period of time. She was too busy with her own things, pursuing whatever it is that she was pursuing.

So I became bitter and angry. I didn’t want anything to do with her anymore simply because I saw [her] leave me behind. It was so unfair. And any time my uncle, my dad’s brother, would beat us up, I would always wish that our mother was there to defend us. I think she would have fought for us.

Unfortunately, my dad left too, so we didn’t have our parents living with us. So I was literally in the hands of my elder sister, and she was moving with me [back and forth between my mum and dad’s sides of the family]. So we were just in such a tornado, my immediate older sister and I. And by the time I came to understand everything, I had already grown into a teenager, a teenager who now didn’t care whether she had a mother or not. But deep inside, that little girl was longing to see her mum and just do things that other children do.

But now I understand why God allowed it to be that way. It is so that I could understand how it feels as a child who doesn’t have a mother or when their mother is doing hurtful things and they don’t have the power to stop them. And as I grew up, my sisters took the responsibility of educating me. So by the time my mum was done with everything that she was doing, I had already moved on as a child. And it was not good that we were not close [to] her.

Then it happened when we were trying to build a relationship and be close, know each other, she passed on. So I can say it is as if I never had a mother in my life. My grandmother and my sisters played the role of a mother figure.

I also experienced physical abuse from my uncle, Dad’s brother, who used to beat up my sisters. Being the youngest, I would try to stop him, so I also got a beating too, leaving me with swollen hands. So I understood physical abuse and any time I would go to school and my schoolmates [would] talk about it, I could relate. So I got used to having non-functional parents and by the time my father came back now to live with us for good, he was a drunkard.

Now, you can imagine having a drunkard father and an absent mother. It wasn’t easy at all. I thank God that our father was always there. And despite him being drunk, he would ensure that everything had been done the way [it was] supposed [to], even things like school homework. His workmates used to say that my dad would carry me in the basket as an infant to work when Mum left. And when he now came back to be with us full-time, the beating of our uncle subsided and he couldn’t deny us food any longer.

I started teaching Sunday School at the tender age of 12 in a church were my uncle pastored. I can say that’s where I began working with children. So through that, I became close to children, and every time a child was in need, I felt the urge to help them out. As I grew, I [continued] to just connect with children and share whatever little thing that I had even though I didn’t have much as a college student.

A growing passion…

When I started working, I started supporting quite a number of street children and I’d take care of them or buy [food for them] every now and then. So my passion for children started growing more. As time went by, I started thinking of having a home for children who needed love, for children who were hurting, children who didn’t have someone or somewhere where they [could] be encouraged and have their morale and self-esteem elevated.

So come 2012, God started speaking to me about having a Bible club for the children. So I began a Bible club in the slums. By 2013, I was taking care of slum street kids. I’d leave home one hour earlier so that I [could] have breakfast with kids at Thika Road Mall, popularly known as TRM. Then I’d go to work. I used to work in Kenyatta University.

Photo provided by Beatrice Malika

Sometimes these children were so cold and shivering because they didn’t have any warm clothes like jackets or sweaters with them. So I approached some of my friends who donated clothes and other things for the initiative. As God [ministered] to me, I began discovering why some of these children were in the streets. Some of [the children] whom I rescued [were homeless] because their mothers [were] HIV-positive and bedridden. Others had been hurt at home, others had been [sexually abused] by the people they trusted mostly when their [parent(s)] died, and it happened when an uncle and aunt decided to take them home.

I’ll never forget a story of one street boy that gave me a wakeup call. He told me that one day when he ran on the streets, two older boys sodomized him and they told him, “You have seen what we have done to you? Do it to the dog!” And he saw it was [very] traumatized. That one broke my heart to pieces. We call them Chokora, slang for street children, and they need a lot of love.

A place to feel loved

So I began a school by the grace of God just to educate them. They needed a home. They needed somewhere they could go to. They needed someone they could get healing from, especially the ones who had been sexually molested who had to run away from their homes because of sexual abuse. The girls needed a lot of love and attention. They needed someone to tell them they could make it, that it was well with them, that they were in safe hands and had no need to fear.

So Glory Christian Education Centre was born, a school where education, meals, stationery and uniforms are all given for free. It is a place where we just allow children to walk in and get an education. When we began, we had 12 children, but now, seven years down the line, we have 400 children.

We put up the school in the slum area where the Bible club was, and so a lot of children joined. In the year 2016, we realized a lot of young girls were getting pregnant. It became a concern. I’d quit my job in 2015 to go full-time as God had asked me to do so. I was in touch with the slum, in touch with the life that goes on there. And that’s when I started realizing that quite a number of children were being abused, sexually abused, by their parents.

So tell me, when your father [abuses] you, the person you trust the most, where do you run to? When your mother sells you to a man to sleep with you at 6 years, 8 years, or even 9 years so that she can get money for alcohol and drugs, who do you run to? Your stepfather [abuses] you and your mother tells you to shut up because he’s the one paying your bills, where do you run to? So that’s why Glory Christian Rescue Home was born.

Right now, we have 30 children and we’ve exhausted all the abuse cases. There are so many children who are going through abuse and they need to be rescued. But now that is how far we can go because of financial limitations and what is expected of us. Our school has so many children and we are taking care of them the best way possible.

We believe in love therapy that when you give a child love, when you give a child a listening ear, when you show a child you understand them, they always open up to you.

Unfortunately, things on the ground are pathetic, and it’s really sad. Children are being [abused] and hurt day in, day out, and we need to arise and protect our children from those who are preying on them. It is our responsibility to be on the [lookout]. Whenever you see a needy child, don’t ignore them. Find out what is going on in their lives and you might be surprised to know the pain they have endured.

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