I used to volunteer with an NGO that catered to hundreds of high-risk children in a developing country. I was working with a group of amazingly intelligent and kind young children who quickly began to smile when they saw me. They loved to laugh with me and play jokes, as do all children. But when the head of the organisation entered the room they would all sit up straight and in silence, they seemed afraid of him. He later told me that he threatened to beat children if they didn’t do what he wanted.
In disgust I raised the issue with the deputy of the organisation, she launched into a rage at me. She explained that they needed to cane, slap and hit children to get answers. The next day I took the children out for some fun, they seemed to love the chance to run around and be children, one of them so much her tongue used to flop out of her mouth much like a dog with its head out of a car window.
Other people were brave enough to come and talk to me. They all informed me they had either seen the head hit children or spoken to the deputy bragging about harming children’s genitals. Upon hearing some of these I flew into a rage! I wrote a Child Protection Policy for the organisation and told them if they didn’t implement these measures then their financial backers may pull out and I would report it to Company X, who provided them with amply financial support. The deputy called my bluff, ‘go ahead.’ she said ‘they know what we do and they approve.’
Soon after I stopped volunteering and began the reporting process. I reported to various authorities and financial backers. I pushed for months just for one of them to take it seriously.
Over a year had passed and I discovered that the children were still there, the alleged abusers were still there and no policies had been implemented. Now that I had returned to the UK I reported it to an international body, after another three months of waiting, now 14 months from the beginning of the reporting process, I finally received feedback. ‘Funding will continue, the alleged abusers will remain there and the children will remain there but we will implement protocols.’
I trust and have faith in the international body to which I reported and thanked them for the progress. But when alleged abusers have over one year to put their story together, so much more abuse can happen and may continue. I don’t believe the extent of abuse was uncovered. I don’t believe the alleged abusers lied to me when they said they beat children.
I will continue to push with this case. I have named no one in this blog because the repercussions for me for reporting abuse are far greater than the repercussions on the careers of those who are allegedly abusing the children. I miss those children dearly and I promised I wouldn’t forget them.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the original author.