Retired soldier’s finds new calling in giving a home to abandoned children
Johnson Abraham, a retired soldier did not know that fate was charting a new path for him when he rescued a one-day-old infant that has been thrown into a pit latrine in 2019.
“I took the child to the police station, and I was told to take care of the child until the mother was traced, but unfortunately the mother did not show up and that’s where I felt there was a need to address such problems to provide not only shelter for children with similar stories but also help protect the children from violent hostile backgrounds,” he said.
Abraham started Amani Institute in Siaya county to rescue mistreated children.The centre advocates for children’s rights and provide shelter for young teenage mothers and orphaned children in Siaya County, Gem sub-county.
“Amani has been there for 12 years. So far we’ve managed to enrolled 180 children and some have transitioned to different places countrywide,” he said.
Initially, he funded the operations of the organisation with the amount of money he had saved from his years in the military.
Now, some of the children he has assisted and are employed lend a hand by paying school fees, buying uniforms and paying workers for the younger ones.
“I enroll a child until they are 22 years when they are now free to walk out of the institute. Some get married while others get a job. I do the follow ups to ensure the child is still safe outside there the way they used to be, I also link the children with other organisations or individuals to help them earn a livelihood,” he said.
Sometimes, he gives up some of the children for adoption after a couple go through the proper procedures.
“Before I allow any individual to have a child, I ask some questions and when they are answered to my satisfaction, I give the child to the family. I conduct frequent visits to ensure the child is safe and does not go through mistreatment. I sit down with the child and ask if they are mistreated, if not I allow them to continue staying there but when mistreated I go back with them to the institute,” he said.
However, he faces challenges such as lack of funds to purchase food, pay the workers and inadequate space.
Asked what legacy he would like to leave behind, Abraham said: “I would wish to be remembered for helping children who had been mistreated”.