This story was reported by the head social worker from the Safety Project at the Etafeni Day Care Centre in Cape Town, South Africa. The Childhood supported project provides trauma debriefing, counseling, home visits and assessments, and court preparation for children who are victims of sexual abuse in Cape Town.
Alu*, an 8-year-old girl from Cape Town, has not found security in the place all children should feel safe--her home. For two years, Alu and her mother lived with Alu’s stepfather. Instead of a new start, Alu's stepfather continuously molested her.
Finally, the stepfather was arrested for abusing Alu, but the family was forced to move out of his house. Since the stepfather was the breadwinner of the house, Alu and her mother quickly ran out of food and money.
Luckily, a social worker from Etafeni intervened, providing food and securing a new home in another community for Alu and her mother. After receiving training from Etafeni’s social workers, Alu went to court to testify against her stepfather. Through continued group counseling with other child survivors, Alu has been able to rebound at school and at home. Thanks to the hard work of Etafeni, she now has a chance at the happy and safe childhood all children deserve.
*Alu’s name has been changed to protect her identity
Thomas Brande, Britta Holmberg, Iris Voltaire
Photo Credit: Etafeni