LONDON: (BY HANNAH CHOWDHRY AND JULIET CHOWDHRY) BACA celebrated the birthday of Sonia (12 yrs) one of the orphaned children of Shama and Shahzad, slaves who were burned alive in a brick kiln in 2014. Read more (here).
The enslaved couple were accused of blasphemy by the accountant of their master who had raped Shama and wanted to escape conviction.
The accountant persuaded local mosques to foment a mob to kill them, resulting in over 5000 people beating them, breaking bones, raping Shama in front of her husband, before dragging the naked couple behind a tractor and throwing them in a brick kiln alive.
BACA has provided a live-in-nanny from the first month after the Christian parents were brutally murdered. Ensuring they had a continuing mother-like figure to care for them.
Our officers meet the family monthly and are with the family at all special days, a commitment we will continue until they reach adulthood.
BACA is one of only a few charities who provide support to the children Suleman(14 yrs), Sonia(12 yrs) and Poonam(10 yrs). Our work includes providing a live-in-nanny at the cost of £100 per month, we undertake repairs to their home, pay for medical treatment and pest control, help with clothing and provide equipment such as computers and beds (click here).
Our live-in-nanny is responsible for cooking for the children, taking them to school and Church, washing and cleaning and for their daily grooming. From day one she has been reading the Bible with the children and leads them in prayer every morning, evening, before leaving the home and on return.
The children had witnessed the unspeakable horror that was unleashed on their parents. Suleman who was 8 yrs and Sonia who was 6 yrs at the time of the death of their parents have quite vivid memories of the attack. Suleman was interviewed at the time of the killings and revealed to global media that his parents were twitching in the fire, even after nearly every bone had been broken in their bodies. The interviews suggest his parents where still alive as flames engulfed them and took away the remnant of their lives on this earth. He is still scarred by the memory but he is a believer in the Gospel and knows he will be reunited with his parents one day in heaven.
BACA has been continually visiting the family on monthly basis ensuring that they are healthy, that any immediate needs are met and to share in joyous occasions. Our team have never been strangers to the family and we are one of the only charities they allow to share their photos and videos. The family want the world to know that whatever evil has befallen them, they are not filled with hate and animosity, but have chosen to Love as Christ loved his persecutors.
In January this year, we provided the children with two laptops after a request to help with the children’s studies. Suleman has informed us that his laptop has been helpful with research making assignments easy to complete. Without our help they would not be able to afford items which in the west we now view as basic necessities (click here).
In July we painted the rooms of the children with their favourite colors and bought new kitchen utensils and equipment after their their home was burgled (click here).
The children are living with their grandfather, Mukhtar Masih (65 yrs). Suleman studies in grade 4 and wants to be a lawyer in future to defend the rights of the poor and persecuted. Sonia is a grade 3 student and Poonam is a grade 2 student. Our nanny helps the younger children with their homework and ensures that their homework is completed on time.
Last week, Mukhtar called our Operations Manager and invited him to Sonia’s birthday party. It was a small affair held between our team, the orphaned children (except Suleman who is at boarding school) and grandfather, and our nanny and her children. Of course only the closest of friends were invited.
BACA team visited as usual and we brought Sonia a special chocolate cake for her 12th birthday. Sonia and Poonam were excited to have the birthday cake especially as we brought large sparkly candles to ignite the atmosphere and create some jolly.
The girls dressed up in beautiful attire to celebrate the birthday and for us it is always a special time, sharing that joy with the children. These children have suffered a lot and were almost killed themselves when men grabbed them and threatened to throw them in the fire too. Seeing them grow up, so healthy and intelligent and with a faith that is so strong is a blessing to us, one that we share with you all.
Poonam was excited for Sonia and Sonia gave the first piece to her grandfather, in an expression of love. They value the input of Mukhtar in their lives who grabbed the children and took them to safety, after a local Muslim woman first condemned the horde of fanatics that were going to fry them alive.
Mukhtar Masih said,
“BACA has been a beacon of hope for our family since the terrible accident.
“Our family is eternally grateful, without your continual support we would have struggled.
“I am an old man and would not have been able to raise these children alone.
“Their faith, their love for others and their desire to do good, is because of the good they have seen you do in their lives.
“I believe someday these children will be very successful, their parents watching from above will be proud of the wonderful human beings they have become.”
Live-in-nanny, Sonia Arshad (35 yrs), informed us about the progress of the children. She said:
“I care for these children like my own.
“Knowing what these children went through at such a tender age is heartbreaking.
“I have loved them and cared for them to the best of my ability.
“My children see them as older brothers and sisters, our families have grown up together so closely.
“It’s great to see their progress – an inspiration that has given my own faith good foundation.
“May God continue to bless this family and give wonderful careers to these little-ones.”
The children are physically healthy, emotionally strong and spiritually aware. Poonam hopes to be a doctor so she can bring good health to others. Poonam desires to be a teacher and loves to read and write.