She is a beautiful young girl of 14 years. Life didn’t give her much of a choice in where she had to live; neither did it give a choice in becoming a mother at the age of 15. All she had been through in her life was rejection from her family and at every institution she was placed in.
She had to survive through 13 years of her life as a young girl, carry a baby within her at the age of 14 and give birth to a child which was taken away from her by force. The experience life gave her taught her to survive wearing a mask as a tough person. But yet, her childhood didn’t give up on her. Though the mask was to survive, her true self was soft inside, yearning for love and affection just as any other child.
By the time Nayana was referred to ESCAPE, she had been transferred from one institution to another and she had no other place to go to as no one could manage her. She was definitely angry at life and herself for what had happened to her. And in her little world, the best way to cope was to be aggressive. She was also receiving psychiatric support in order for her to cope.
The decision on providing residential counselling and care for Nayana was not an easy decision. But the staff at ESCAPE were ready to take up the challenge in order to make some difference in the life of Nayana. There were days when Nayana couldn’t manage her anger and had caused harm to the staff.
In Nayana’s life, all she yearned for is a little love and affection and that is what she hadn’t got throughout her life. The difference we could make in her life was to give her that love and accept her for who she is. It was a learning for the staff that little acts of love can go a long way in the life of a child.
Nayana is still on the journey of rewriting her story. ESCAPE still continues to support Nayana along with government officials and psychiatrists. Our hope is that she will hold onto what she had learnt during her stay at our respite home so that she will use it to shape her life.
ESCAPE is a project for eradicating sexual abuse of children in Sri Lanka. It is run by the Lanka Evangelical Alliance Development Service (LEADS), a co-sending partner of AsiaCMS.