Maliam was born to a mother, crippled and incapacitated by mental illness, and a grandmother who is very old. 5 children before Maliam had been strangled by her mother in moments of total mental breakdown, yet no one had done anything about it.
Most of the time, her grandmother took care of her out of fear for Maliam’s safety. The family hardly ever had any food to eat, and Maliam was rarely fed. Most days her and her grandmother had to be supported by nearby households just to survive. Needless to say, the environment Maliam lived in significantly affected her cognitive development and abilities.
Maliam came to live with us at Calo Me Lare when she was four years old. By then she still couldn’t even talk. Her odd behaviors were misunderstood by mothers and other orphans for a long time. As you can imagine, this outcasting experience kept her very sad and angry for some time. Still, her house mother, Rose, was very patient and caring with her.
Maliam has worked with the house mothers, counselors and therapists daily since joining us. It was hard to know if her delays in mental development, social life and behavior were genetically passed down from her mother or only as a result of her unhealthy upbringing. She was expected to have a learning disorder or delay for some time. But since becoming aware of her delays and gaining the ability to understand them better, her and the house mothers are learning to deal with these issues in a positive and encouraging way!
Since then, there have been significant improvements in Maliam’s lifestyle socially, physically and behaviorally. She couldn’t even hold a pen or book correctly when she first came. Now she writes letters and draws pictures for her sponsors in the United States! She is now happy and free being able to communicate with staff and other children. She is also improving academically, socially and in skills and abilities at home.
In the words of a member of her village back home:
“I never understood and always underrated Maliam’s ability. I never thought Maliam was useful anymore. But now I’m excited that she can communicate. She has improved academically, socially and perform domestic chores at home as well. I am grateful for Project Hope Worldwide for the great work.”