After her husband died, Cecilia found providing for her three kids pretty tough. So at the age of 12, her oldest son Marvin took himself off to the docks every day, to collect scrap metal and sell it on so that his mom and younger siblings could eat. Sometimes he would sleep there too, to be at work early in the morning – before all the other hungry children scavenging for scraps to sell.
Thanks to our supporters, Street Child can employ a team of child protection experts whose job it is to identify children who are living in unstable home environments, safely reunite them with loving families, and empower them to go back to school. Over a few weeks of observation, it became clear to social worker John that Marvin was neither attending school, despite the importance of education to his future, nor eating properly.
When John met Cecilia, Marvin’s situation made sense. Her husband’s death had left Cecilia a single parent with three teenage boys to support. She had no money at all and could not afford to even feed the family, let alone invest in any kind of business. Herself incredibly thin, and desperately worried about her children, she agreed immediately to meet with Street Child’s business team.
Street Child’s business team gave Cecilia a grant and she started up her own business, selling toiletries along the roads in her neighborhood. As per the grant agreement, she uses some of her profit to send all three boys to school, including Marvin. He was out of school for three years, which is a long time; in Street Child’s experience, the longer a child is out of school, the less likely they are to ever return and complete the learning they need to be empowered for their future.
But when we meet Marvin he is not only attending school, but also studying hard for the important tests he has next week (which he passed well!). Taking a quick break from his studies, he tells us that he likes math best, and that he’s glad he no longer has to sleep at the docks. The family is back together, and he is in school – a great outcome. Thanks to everyone who supported Marvin, and others like him.