26 September 2018

BBC World Service interview with Rukhiya Budden: The Stranger Who Rescued Me

 Rukhiya and BBC World Service Outlook presenter Matthew Bannister

Our Ambassador Rukhiya Budden has spoken to the Outlook programme on BBC World Service about how she escaped a traumatic childhood in an orphanage, and why she’s campaigning to eliminate orphanages worldwide.

More than 75 million listeners across the globe heard Rukhiya’s story on the BBC World Service. Speaking to presenter Matthew Bannister, she described the abuse and neglect she suffered as a young girl, trying to survive without the love and protection of a family in an orphanage in Kenya.

Recalling the day when she was only four, and her mother left her and her siblings in the institution in Nairobi, Rukhiya said,  “I cried and cried and cried until I stopped crying because I just knew that crying was not really going to help me in any shape or form.”

Rukhiya spent a decade struggling to survive in the orphanage and went on to develop anorexia as she tried to avoid the attention of abusers among the staff and older boys. “I didn’t want to get noticed. I didn’t want anyone to touch me, to see me, so I just wanted to disappear, ” she explained.

Rukhiya went on to describe how a kind visitor to the orphanage befriended her and her sister and eventually agreed to foster them,  providing the support and encouragement they needed to transform their lives.

You can listen to Rukhiya’s extraordinary personal story via the BBC iPlayer