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Compassion In Kenya

Compassion-CBO

Compassion CBO

Safe World Field Partner in Kenya - Compassion CBO, was formed to eradicate poverty through education and sustainable development among women living in the slums and rural areas and to rehabilitate orphans and vulnerable children.

Survivors In DR Congo

Bahati-with-group

COFAPRI

COFAPRI is based in Bukavu in the eastern Democratic Rupublic of Congo The organisation empowers women through encouraging income-generating activities such as the rearing of livestock.

Field Partner News

Safe World Field Partner, work directly with issues such as poverty, health-care, marginalisation, FGM, child marriage, and education.

Asha Leresh

How Asha Survived the Unnecessary Cut

Asha’s luck came when Samuel Siriria Leadismo, the Director of Pastoralist Child Foundation and his team visited her village, creating awareness about female genital mutilation (FGM) and sexual reproductive health....
Handwashing

Washing Hands to Improve Health in Rural DR Congo

COFAPRI organised handwashing sessions for school children and mothers in rural villages, with the aid of educational DVDs kindly supplied by Thare Machi Education. The word has begun to spread as neighbours are now prompting each other to wash their hands.
Safe Spaces

Safe Spaces Crucial for Women's Self-Reliance in Rural DR Congo

Increased security helps women become self-reliant and less financially dependent on their husbands. This improves the situation for the whole family and also means the women are less vulnerable to abuse.
Towards womens empowerment

DR Congo: Men's Inclusion in Women's Empowerment Benefits Everyone

It remains very important within communities for men and boys to be educated regarding the rights of women and girls, including their proper, fair and respectful treatment. When the women and girls become empowered, it is the whole community that benefits.
Margaret from Kiambu Support Group

Nairobi cancer survivor has hope at last

Margaret is among many women Compassion CBO trained in 2015. She has survived breast Cancer 2 times.

New Womens Magazine for Cameroon

The first edition of the Women for a Change Magazine is now available.

News, Interviews and Blogs

Under-reported issues affecting women and children. Exclusive interviews, articles and blogs by Safe World Correspondents and Content Partners

Compensation Claims Board 2

The Need for Victim Compensation Programmes - Pakistan and Globally

Globally, victim compensation programmes play a significant role in providing assistance to the victims of violence... however, in Pakistan we are lacking any such programme. It is high time to take serious note of the issue and develop a strong referral…
Lizzy and Victoria

Peace, Dialogue & the Ripple Effect: #RISING16 Global Peace Forum

Perhaps the most inspiring session for me came towards the end of the two days and was entitled ‘Bring back our girls – the forgotten victims of conflict’... We heard the CEO of International Alert, Harriet Lamb, and Victoria Nyanjura - who was kidnapped by…
Olutosin 2

Olutosin Adebowale: To America With Love

Once upon a time in my country, Nigeria, there was a ruler who was dreaded by many... We resisted and said No to every oppressive action or word to any weak or voiceless Nigerian... This is the time to stand firm on what has held the world together - Love.
Berlyne Ngwalem Ngwentah

Berlyne Ngwentah: 'The Biggest Cheerleaders of Women are Women'

All the most prominent, biggest community and feminist movements to alleviate the sufferings of women and girls and support women’s involvement in education and leadership have been championed mostly by women...
Jen 9

Promoting Misogyny, Zenophobia, and Bullying... is.... Nasty

I cannot ever vote for anyone who promotes misogyny, racism, Islamophobia, zenophobia, homophobia... It would be a mockery of my life... dishonoring my elders who have endured the many injustices of racial animosity, my friends who've experienced the same...
Women united

Women United for a Better Community in High Andean of Peru

“Women United for a Better Community” is a new group of grassroots women in the Ayacucho Region at the South High Andean of Peru, recently created by Estrategia, a National Grassroots women's organization. The grassroots women require to be heard and get the…

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Orphans in Paradise

By Kerry Semon and Niels Hoogeveen. March 2010.

 

Child's CasketFor some, Paradise is a long lost garden, bound to a time when Man & God walked together.  For others, Paradise is the promise of an idyllic afterlife. For Lydia Schatz, Paradise was a hell hole in the foothills of California's Central Valley.
Kerry Semon and Niels Hoogeveen from Pound Puppy Legacy investigate

LYDIA

Lydia Schatz was one of three children adopted from Liberia in 2007, by Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz. Lydia Schatz is no more.

On February 6 of this year, Lydia died on her way to a hospital. She had been beaten for hours with a length of plastic tubing, for the mispronunciation of the word “pulled”, during one of the children's homeschooling sessions.

Lydia's sister, Zacharia received similar beatings that same day. Lucky for her, she made it to the hospital alive, and survived the torture her adoptive parents administered.

The abuse of adopted children is not an uncommon phenomenon. Over the years, hundreds of cases have made the news. It is very likely many other abuse after adoption cases never became public.

NOT AN ISOLATED CASE

The abuse of Lydia and Zacharia, is not even the only case of a Liberian child abused within an adoptive family.

In 2005, Ardee and Penny Sue Tyler adopted five sisters from Liberia. Like the Schatzes, the Tylers were a very devout Christian homeschooling couple. With financial help from their local church, the couple had been able to fly to Liberia and returned with the five sisters.

Soon after the children started living with the Tylers, one of them got in “trouble” with the adoptive couple on an almost daily bases.

GOOD CHRISTIAN VALUES

As a punishment, the child was tied to a chair and had to sleep outside or in a shed. The adopted child had to go without food for weeks, all because the adopters believed Satan had control over the girl.

The commonalities between the Schatz case and the Tyler case are not incidental. Adoption from Africa, in general, and from Liberia in particular, are very much driven by religious motivations.

West African Children Support Network (WACSN), the now defunct adoption agency responsible for the placement of the Tyler children, welcomed visitors to their website with statements like:

Let us come together and do as our dear saviour teaches us to do!
Let us put ourselves last and others first!
Let us come together and glorify His Holy Name!
Come Holy Spirit come!

In the world of Christian adoptions, the Holy Spirit commeth when the right amount of money is paid to an adoption agency and its affiliates. From where those children originate, and the suitability of the families with whom they are placed, seems a lesser concern.

WACSN, like several other adoption agencies operating in Africa, has been engaged in fraudulent activities to obtain children for adoption.

Parents were told children were going overseas for education, while in reality they were sold for adoption to couples believing these children to be orphans.

TRAFFICKING FOR ADOPTION

The trafficking of children for the inter-country adoption market is certainly not something new. It has been part and parcel of inter-country adoption since Canada started shipping infants to the United States in the 1920's.

Reckless placement of children with unsuitable families is not new either. Abuse in adoptive family cases go back to the mid-1900's, the time when the first adoption laws were instituted.

Adoption as a religious cause is not new, either. Catholic charities, Lutheran social services, and Jewish family services, have been involved in adoption for at least a century.

What is new is a concerted effort made by the American evangelical movement to make the plight of the “orphan” a central part of their cause and relief.

Over the last decade, many churches have launched adoption ministries, promoting the adoption of “orphans”, and in many cases, provided financial support for members of their congregation to adopt these “orphans”.

The evangelical “orphan crusade” is rooted in a very flexible notion of the word “orphan”. Unless a child is living with and raised by its two parents, it is deemed an “orphan”.

As a result, there are millions and millions of “orphans” in this world, all of whom are, apparently, in desperate need to be saved by “good Christian people”.

In reality, few of the so-called “orphans” are actually in need of alternative care.

The children in-care may be called “orphans”, but most have at least one living parent; many children are cared for by living extended family members. As a result, not all that many “orphans” are actually adoptable.

DECEPTION AND COERCION

To create the proper supply of “orphans”, the crusaders have to use deception and coercion to remove a child from the care it receives and make it available for the highly competitive inter-country adoption market.

As the case of the Schatzes and that of the Tylers show, “good Christian families” can easily not be in the best interest of a child. Imagine what it's like to grow up in a country like Liberia, and suddenly have to behave like a child in “Little House on the Prairie”.

Imagine what it's like when harsh discipline is used anytime “good Christian values” are misunderstood.

Lydia Schatz died in Paradise, one month ago, because she couldn't adhere to her adopters “good Christian values”.

The Tyler child was starved, tied up, and forced to sleep outside, because she couldn't adhere to her adopters “good Christian values”.

The other Tyler girls have learned to believe their sister is “evil”, and followed “good Christian family values” by shunning their sister when the Tylers had to appear in court.

Just like any other religious crusade, the mission to “save the orphans”, largely makes victims and creates it's own damage.

Despite all international adoptions made from Liberia and other countries in Africa, millions of children still need better food, better clothing, cleaner water.

Bringing a few thousand children to the Western World doesn't do anything for those millions left-behind.

The promise of a better life in places like Paradise, cannot be guaranteed. In fact, for some so-called orphans, staying put would be preferred to being saved.

www.poundpuplegacy.org

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