Angola – Chance for redemption for Luanda girls

01 July 2019

(ANS - Luanda) - Dulce, Bemvinda, Esperança ... They are names that are bearers of beauty and joy, but that fate betrays if you were born in the wrong place, if you are forced to live on the street, exposed to the elements and the fear of the night lived outdoors.

Of "sweet" in the streets of Luanda, except for the smiles of children, there is nothing at all. Mud in the rainy season, dust in the dry season, garbage all year round. None of these girls is "bemvinda" (welcome): hospitality has seen fit to take up residence in another part of town, in the central districts of the capital, between the mirrored windows of the skyscrapers and the embassies of foreign countries. "Hope" there is, however, and plenty of it, and it is heartwarming.

The stories of these young girls, so experienced and consumed by life before they reach legal age, all follow the same ruthless plot lines: fathers who abandon the family or die, violent stepfathers who throw them out of the house or force them to flee, mothers who do not manage to face or deal with the hardship of life because they lack economic means and cultural tools. The street thus becomes the natural place to hide and lick one's wounds.

There in the streets you look for those like you, the sisters of misfortune and the boys who live among the rubbish of Luanda, because they are the only ones who can give you protection. You are grateful to them, you fall in love with them, you experience a vague sense of family. And then get pregnant, you've never seen a hospital or a clinic closely, you don't know what a prenatal visit is, you only see your body being transformed and you don't know what to do.

At night, on the streets of Luanda, a team of Salesians drive around with a van in search of the meninos and meninas da rua. On board there is a nurse and an educator, who spend their time curing wounds and talking to them. Sometimes someone has to be taken to the hospital; someone else is persuaded to go to the Salesian center, where he will find a shower and a hot dish. But this applies to boys; for girls there is currently no center and that is why the Salesians are equipping one out, where these girls can have a chance of redemption and be looked after, even with their children.

External signs can be treated, medicated, but for humiliations the work is much longer and more complex.

To offer hope to these little girls one must really put one's heart into it, be mothers and fathers to make up for their denied childhood.



ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

This site also uses third-party cookies to improve user experience and for statistical purposes. By scrolling through this page or by clicking on any of its elements, you consent to the use of cookies. To learn more or to opt out, click "Further Information".