Estimates suggest that 80% of all refugees are women and children. Behind this cold, impersonal statistic stand countless mothers who are the heart and soul of their families. A JRS staff member in Namibia tells of how her love for her own children led her to reach out to orphaned refugee children.
Today is one of the days for my usual weekly visit to Osire refugee camp. I work for JRS Namibia as an education officer and my weekly visits bring me in touch with the most wonderful people.
Chatting with one girl, I found out she is nine years old, and she lives with her older sister who attends secondary school. To my question where their parents are, she just shakes her head to give me the message that she does not know.
I think about this little girl in a foreign country with no parents, how hard can life get?Who is there to take proper care of her? Who is helping her with homework? Who will make sure that she has something to eat and drink before going to school, and that she is properly dressed? I am a mother, but I can only be a mother to her once a week.There are so many to attend to, she is just one of them.
Sometimes I pray for these little ones, a prayer to guide them through the years so that one day they will have a full life back in their motherland, a prayer so that they will make the right choices. What more does a mother want for her children?
Adapted from God in Exile, 2005