Inside a Mother’s Heart
Christinah Sabau, is affectionately known to the children as Mama Sabau, for that is what she is to them – a loving mother. As the Just Children Foundation (JCF) grew over the past 10 years, so did she.
Having started off as a volunteer cook, she was later employed on a full–time basis as a mother, a house keeper and, later, matron to the children.
The late Apostle Kasimonje had a profound effect on her life, particularly in as far as her faith and the provision for the home’s needs were concerned. She recalled the time when they needed a durawall at a time when their bank account was virtually dry.
“I remember when the Tynwald stand was donated to us…as we prayed during devotions a friend phoned Apostle Kas and said he had the money for the durawall. More and more miracles would happen and centres like Faith and Hope and Rudo Centre were bought by our friends,” she said.
At one time, when they could not even afford to buy a bottle of cooking oil, she remembers God’s miraculous intervention and they ended up with drums of the edible oil and many other goodies – rice, chocolates, ice cream and sweets – to brighten up the children’s lives.
“A lot of doors were opened for us locally and internationally. In fact, we couldn’t even have space to store the goods and this also gave us an opportunity to donate to other homes whom we network with,” she said.
However, it had not been an easy road. But she had had to work hard to make it all work. Having started off with boys only at the centre, who had never had much home upbringing, she had to make them appreciate the value of adhering to a home system, but the greatest miracle of all, as far as she was concerned, was bringing them to Christ.
“I had to put some standards in place, ask them to bath, giving them food, among other things, and leading them to Christ through the Apostle made a big change in their lives,” she said.
At one time, as the organisation was still growing, there were about 60 boys and five girls. But with the passing of time, more girls who had suffered the harrowing experience of sexual abuse were referred to the organisation.
“Some of the cases would just make you cry as the only mother available to the girls,” Mama Sabau recalled. “The girls needed more attention than the girls, some of whom would have been abused by their uncles and fathers.”
Rightly named the Shelter of Joy, the JCF headquarters became a centre of safety for such abused young girls. In the line of her work, Mama Sabau, owing to the nature of her job, had had heart–wrenching experiences.
Mama Sabau, who at time had had to take her ‘daughters’ to court as witnesses in their sexual abuse cases, gave a brief rundown of some of the most disturbing and horrifying cases that the JCF had had to deal with over the past 10 years.
There was a case of 12–year–old twins who were sexually abused by a 72–year–old, and both of them ended up pregnant, and eventually as mothers at the tender age of 13. In another case, a man hung his young boy on a tree drooping over a river in such a way that half the boy’s body was in the river and left him for dead. Fortunately the boy was rescued and brought to the foundation, and the abusive father was subsequently arrested.
In another incident, a young girl was severely raped in such a way that her sexual organs were torn. Just before she was set to undergo an operation, the team at JCF prayed in such a way that God responded, healing the girl miraculously.
Mama Sabau also recalled taking some of her girls who had developed genital warts to a doctor, and having to watch them howl in pain as the doctor burned off the warts with gas as she held their legs apart.
With sadness, too, she had experienced cases in which efforts reintegrate some children back into society have failed, especially young girls with ages ranging from 13 to 15 years who ended up having babies and are still living in the streets. She still meets some them, and extend the loving help they had always known, when possible. They still call her mother even long after they had left the Shelter of Joy.
But with the joy of a mother she had watched, and celebrated, the successes scored by some of the children who had passed through her loving hands over the years. Although many of them managed to complete their secondary education, she delights in the two specific cases of Cecil Musawo and Richard Chipunza who managed to go all the way to university.
She is so grateful to God who had seen the organisation through the past years, promoting it from glory to glory, having started off with a staff complement of 12, but now has 60 employees in its books.
“At the Just Children Foundation, God is still in control as we celebrate 10 years of good work,” she concluded. “I encourage all our friends that it is the desire of God that these little ones are taken care of and loved. It is our duty to do so.”