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Top News ‘Darkest hour’: Boy, 7, recovering after being severely burned

‘Darkest hour’: Boy, 7, recovering after being severely burned

PLEASE NOTE: This story contains some distressing images.  

A brave seven-year-old boy has made “remarkable progress” in his recovery after being burned by his father. The boy, here named Rajab* to protect his identity, was rescued from this horrifying situation of child abuse by the police, who referred him to Hope for Justice.

Rajab was burned on both hands and legs after being accused of theft. He told us that because he was very hungry, he took some money from his father’s pocket and used it to buy food.

To punish him, his father burned him. Neighbours heard his screams and alerted the police. This cruel form of punishment was a violation of Rajab’s human rights. Sadly, abuse such as this is not uncommon in Uganda.  

Rajab’s teacher describes the torture that his young pupil experienced as his “darkest hour”. 

When he arrived at our Lighthouse – a safe haven for children who have been or who are at risk of exploitation – he was dirty, impoverished and had bandaged, swollen hands. The severe burns made it impossible for him to carry out daily tasks, such as getting dressed, having a wash and cleaning his personal belongings. 

A member of staff at the Lighthouse said: “Rajab’s life changed significantly when he came to Hope for Justice. He had been rescued from the terrible reality of child abuse, which left him at risk of physical harm. Rajab found solace and support at the Lighthouse, where we daily dressed his wounds, provided trauma-informed cognitive behavioural therapy, love, and a safe haven.” 

Nurses at our Lighthouse and residential social workers have monitored Rajab closely and worked to improve his physical and emotional wellbeing. The survivor’s wounds, bruises to his body and pain have all been treated and he is now recovering well.  

A member of our team said: “During his time at the Lighthouse, Rajab has made remarkable progress in his recovery. Through the dedicated efforts of the Lighthouse team, and the child’s own resilience, he has regained the ability to perform daily activities.”

Rajab can now participate in various Lighthouse activities. He is able to attend catch-up classes, engage in life skills sessions, and carry out domestic chores like cleaning. He can draw again, and he also enjoys playing football and bingo, among other activities, with his peers.  The progress of this young boy is testament to the impact of comprehensive care and support as well as his determination and strength. 

His teacher added: “This young child’s story is an inspiring example of resilience and hope, highlighting the transformative power of dedicated intervention and nurturing support. The collaborative efforts of the community, police and Hope for Justice have played a pivotal role in the boy’s remarkable recovery, demonstrating the potential for positive outcomes in the lives of survivors who have endured trauma and abuse.” 

*Name changed to protect identity of survivor

young girl