Stories from the street – Vanessa

Fourteen-year-old Vanessa* was rescued from the streets aged just nine, and had been living in a foster home ever since. But despite receiving love and care from the workers there, Vanessa’s self-esteem was at rock bottom. She despised herself, refused to study, and found it impossible to form healthy relationships with other children or with staff.

Two girls smilingVanessa’s encounter with Pavement Project was to change all that. During a counselling session, she told her story for the very first time, sharing a secret which she had never felt able to reveal before. When she was just five years old, her mother had left her alone at home to care for her baby brother. He fell from his stroller and was killed, and Vanessa had been carrying the guilt with her ever since. Pavement Project allowed her to break the silence and to receive the comfort, support and reassurance she so badly needed.

“Vanessa had been carrying the guilt with her … Pavement Project allowed her to break the silence.”

I was overjoyed when this previously withdrawn teenage girl sought me out at church, beaming with pleasure, to show me that she was wearing a dress for the very first time, and was going to have her hair done. Small but significant outward signs of inner transformation, as Vanessa’s encounter with God began to change the course of her life in a beautiful way.

*Vanessa’s name was changed in line with SGM Lifewords’ child protection policy

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Have you had a similar experience?