Beatrice started working as school cook at Spurgeons in 2014. When she started the school had a bigger kitchen that was able to be locked and better ventilated. But then parts of the school got knocked down by the government and the current kitchen is much smaller with no storage space.
Beatrice has a very turbulent past. She went to school until class 8 but was chased out from home by her father at age 13 and ended up living on the streets. Soon after this she was raped and became pregnant. She endured a lot of challenges being found at age 13 with a child but thankfully a ‘Good Samaritan’ took her in. This person persuaded Beatrice not to get rid of her child, helped her with clinic appointments and bills, and taught her to cook. The Good Samaritan is like family now and calls Beatrice’s children ‘her grandchildren’.
Beatrice now has 3 children and they have all been to Spurgeons Academy. They all live together in a single room, with Beatrice sharing the bed with her daughter, and the boys sleeping on the floor. She would love to be able to shelter other children, just as she was given shelter, but she doesn’t have the space. She did take in a girl called Kate for one night in an emergency. Then the one night became 2, and then Kate called her mum and Beatrice doesn’t have the heart to turn her out. But there’s no room for any others.
Beatrice says: ‘I am so happy to work for Spurgeons. It is such a good school and I don’t where I would be without it. My children have all been sponsored through their education thanks to Spurgeons, and we get so much. It is a safe place, and we came here in the riots when it was too dangerous to stay at home. We get physical and spiritual help here, there is always someone I can turn to.
I would like Spurgeons to grow so that it goes up to high school level. That way there would be less drop out cases from the high school students and they could do groups and learning courses for girls who get pregnant so that they can learn a skill. But the school is now too squeezed and there is no playground, so I’m not sure how that could happen. It would be so good if it can though’.