Jeanette Nyambu was captured by Congolese rebels at the age of 10 and was forced into sexual slavery for 4 years. At 14 and pregnant, Jeanette managed to escape her captor and made her way to Nairobi, Kenya where she finally found safety at the Zakat Foundation of America (ZF) Safe House. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a country where poverty and violence have, sadly, become the norm. Rebel forces opposing the government have spread destruction and despair in the Congo, especially for girls like Jeanette.
At the Safe House, Jeanette and her baby found a place for recovery and comfort. The ZF Safe House Program provides shelter to refugee children and refugee women who are either homeless or are victims of violence and abuse.
Residents are given the opportunity to recover in a safe and peaceful environment and given emotional support through therapy and counseling.
Chantal Nyamuch, 19, also from the Congo, is another young resident of the Safe House Program. Chantal was thrown out of her home because she was pregnant. Until she arrived at ZF’s Safe House, Chantal had never had a prenatal check-up. Nine days later Chantal gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, Manzi, and both mother and son are doing well thanks to the ZF Safe House Program.
Pregnant women and young mothers have benefitted most from the program. Individual and group counseling is provided on site. In group counseling sessions, participants with children discuss issues related to their experiences in parenting.
The women and children also engage in relaxing activities to provide a place where they can forget about the problems they had before entering the program. Art projects, plays and music are a few of the activities that residents of the Safe House Program enjoy during their free time. The story of Jeanette began as a horror story but through ZF’s Safe House Program, she was given the opportunity to forget her past and start a new life.