Lydia was institutionalized her whole childhood. She was nine years old when we brought her to live at ‘Safe Homes’, still wearing a nappy, unable to speak and full of pent-up aggression. All of this stemmed from the effects of her being institutionalized – where she had spent 9 years tied to a bed every day and night. We worked with Lydia in the orphanage for 6 months before she would let us untie her and take her out of her room that she had been confined to for so long. As soon as Lydia was untied she would automatically try to hit her head on anything near to her. We honestly couldn’t see how Lydia would ever recover from the abusive life she had led. We made the decision to bring her to live at ‘Safe Homes’. We employed full time workers just to care for Lydia and work alongside her house parents. Therapists started to teach Lydia the life skills she had never learnt, but more importantly, loved and cared for her. Lydia no longer self abuses, she can feed herself and can also go to the bathroom alone, Lydia uses sign language and picture cards to communicate, she will always be scarred from the abuse and maltreatment she received but is a happy and loving child who, through Safe Homes, is learning to reach her full potential.

Lydia taught us that no child is beyond help and with the correct care and rehabilitation programmes, any institutionalized adult or child’s life can be turned around.