POSTED December 3, 2018
Woman becomes guardian angel to vulnerable children
How a community member in Nicaragua protected children from domestic abuse
By Enmanuel Castro, communications manager, Nicaragua
Jacinta has good reason to smile. The Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) volunteer from Managua, Nicaragua is making her community safer for children.
Two children in particular were lucky to have a neighbour call Jacinta, a recognized community leader, to rescue them from their stepmother’s abuse.
Jacinta knew she had to help, especially considering she herself previously suffered severe abuse from her siblings. “When you have a very sad and mistreated childhood, you don’t want to see another child [suffer],” she says.
So, she took the children to the local community centre to hear their side of the story, before taking them to the police with support from program staff.
“When you have a very sad and mistreated childhood, you don’t want to see another child [suffer].” — Jacinta, a community leader in Nicaragua
The six-year-old boy had redness on his chest and the eight-year-old girl couldn’t move her arm after being hit with a telephone wire.
In Nicaragua, domestic violence can be considered “punishment.” It’s a vicious cycle of behaviour, which often begins with men abusing their wives who then hit their children.
With support through CCFC, behaviours are slowly changing in Nicaraguan communities. Jacinta has spent years helping women identify abuse and get help. And, through coordination with local school administration, CCFC and other civil-society organizations, many community members have learned children deserve a childhood free from violence.
Jacinta believes that firmly. She’s happy the family of the children she helped now receives psychological support and a social worker visits to ensure everyone is safe.
At 55, Jacinta looks ahead with optimism. She wishes she could do more to protect children. “I love working with [them],” she says.
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