Meet Lydia. She is 19 years old. Without our dedicated Safe Homes programme she may never have recovered from her heart-breaking childhood ordeal.
Lydia’s story is an inspiration to us all.
Institutionalised for most of her life, Lydia was 9 years old when we brought her to live in our Safe Homes. She was undernourished, unable to speak, and still wearing a nappy.
For those first 9 agonising years of her life, Lydia was tied to a bed, day and night.
So traumatic was this experience for such a young child, we had to work with Lydia in the orphanage for 6 months before she would let us untie her and take her out of the room. She was auto-aggressive and would self-harm if untied or left alone.
We have helped so many children build a chance at a better life and even we couldn’t imagine how Lydia might ever recover from such sustained childhood abuse.
But we weren’t about to give up on her.
Upon bringing Lydia to one of our Safe Homes she lived with devoted foster parents and full-time assistants to help with her care. Our therapists worked daily with Lydia, to nurture her, care for her and to teach her the life skills she had never learnt.
Ten years later and Lydia no longer self-harms. She can feed and dress herself and goes to the bathroom alone. Lydia loves to play in the garden, especially on the trampoline. She even communicates with us using sign language and pictures cards! She is part of a family that loves her, she makes her foster parents laugh and she loves to laugh with them.
Lydia is proof that no child is beyond our help, that we can improve and make a difference to any child within our care. And she has made us even more determined to make sure that we do so.