Yes, the road to recovery is a long one. Yes, a box full of helpful comforting items is just a tiny stepping stone on that long road of healing. but it is an important one, as this box aids the young children’s capacity to testify in the Magistrate court against their abusers.
You probably are already familiar with the high child abuse statistics in the Limpopo Province South Africa, where every 3 min a child is raped.
Listen to this letter of the Intermediary at the Magistrate court, Salome Phaho, in which she wrote me this morning: (the style reflects the local tone of communication in South Africa)
“Beloved am delighted to hear we receiving new boxes again, am already jumping with the joy of the Lord which has given me strength. I am already looking forward to welcome those victims knowing they will receive full support and comfort from the Lord through those gifts.
I am amazed by the love you have for the vulnerable which to many whose eyes of understanding the Lord haven’t yet enlightened, the story still remains the “same”, they should have been careful enough or could have prevented it somehow and you ask yourself but how since some victims are hardly a year old.”
She refers to the care boxes I am making up with the help of friends and church members.
It generally is a big struggle to get child abuse cases to trial, as the young girls are being shamed and not supported by the local culture, as you could read in the letter above. Also, at court the young abuse survivors face many challenges. Long hours of waiting, having never met their intermediaries before, testifying, often 3 hours of cross examinations are just a few of the challenges.
Often the girls and boys (we make special boxes for boys too) will be too shy and close up totally so their testimony can not be validated and subsequently the case cannot go into trial.
I came up with the method of using care boxes to help the children relax. The box contains a new, cute stuffed toy to immediately help the intermediary form a connection with the child. The box contains a high quality fruit juice and some snacks to help keep the child alert during a long and hard trial. Furthermore there are crayons, colouring books and sticker activities to help the children bridge times where the court is in recess or formalities need to be followed up with, which can talke an hour or more.
On Sunday November 9 we had a court staff member testify in our church on the huge impact these boxes have in calming the children, how they can hold on to their toy and how their concentration has improved. The court also uses the crayons and colouring books to help verify if the child understands the concepts of truth and lie which is essential to the testimony being accepted in court.
The juices and snacks are so important as the children often come hungry and tire quickly during trial.
I am so thankful we can hand out these boxes as a powerful tool to court staff who can connect and communicate easier with the children that way.
I am thankful to everybody who brought a teddy, snacks, crayons, stickers or money to make this possible.
All boxes contain a message saying: You are special!