On July 9, 2017 Afroria visited the Vine Heritage home located on the outskirts of Kuje Abuja, Nigeria. It's managed by two missionaries, Pastor Steven and his wife.
The place is home to 115 children who were rescued from villages all over Abuja, the children are believed to be evil in their communities because they are twins. Vine Heritage also houses children whose mothers die during childbirth.
Situations where babies are killed:
1. When there are multiple births. (Twins, triplets, etc)
2. When the mother of the child dies during childbirth. The baby is considered evil and is either killed immediately or left in a roomfor days, with no food or water, to die.
3. When the baby starts to grow the upper teeth (incisors) before others.
4. When the baby is born an albino.
5. When the baby is born with any deformities, physical and mental (Downs syndrome, autism)
Pastor Steven has a few people in most of these communities who keep an eye out for babies who may need to be rescued. They either tell him to come and pick the children up or they bring them to him.
It hasn't been without challenges, the home has lost five babies because of the critical condition they were brought in.
The government was alerted about the killing in 2014 when a journalist heard about the home and wrote an article about it. They didn't believe it was real and sent investigators to confirm the claims, which they did. They government gave no physical help to Vine Heritage but engaged a large number of the villages by using advocacy and sensitization processes to convince them to desist from their actions. It resulted in six villages stopping the killings. While a few others don't kill the babies but call for Pastor Steven to come and get the babies.
With the change of government in 2015, the advocacy projects ended and nothing is being done presently.
Of the 115 children, 78 go to school. The first child ever to be nurtured by the missionaries is now a 23 year old young woman. She is in the university studying Education.
The children are not put up for adoption. They are taken care of at the home and in a lot of cases, the parent(s) come and see them, or the Pastor takes them back for a visit to their community (the not so hostile ones) and shows them off, to show that they are doing good.
The most pressing needs of the home are:
1. Medical bills: They need to have the home as a beneficiary of the NHIS scheme. (Government health insurance scheme)
2. Baby food: Since the children are taken away as babies, they need to be fed baby food. The idea of surrogate mothers was tested but proved not to be viable.
3. School fees: Majority of the children go to school, they need to pay their fees and other educational expenses.
If you will like to be connected to the missionaries at the rescue home, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org