Mother Young, the founder of Fatima Cottage in Dixeville, has fallen into what her children say is depression. She lost all 95 of her orphans (children) housed at the cottage a month ago after one of her staff members was accused of raping a teenage girl living at the cottage.
The cottage said they were taken away by the Ministry of Gender and Development after one of the orphans, a disabled teen, alleged that she was raped and impregnated.
Mother Young was days away from turning 92 when a bus came to her yard and swept her children away.
“The government didn’t have any order to come and take away our children the way they did unknown to mother Young. They acted as if they were giving candy to the children and placed them into a Save the Children bus and took them away. A man holding a single sheet of paper ordering Fatima Cottage closed threatened that if we refused to hand over the children, they would break down the structure. All the while, mother Young was inside her bedroom, they didn’t even inform her,” stated mother Young’s daughter Teta Young.
A source working with the Gender Ministry said all the children have been taken to safe homes, while those who have their parents were reunited with them.
“We do not tolerate rape. Dennis Togba needs to turn himself in for what he allegedly did to one of their children. Besides the rape case, the cottage is in very poor condition and we have reason to believe that the cottage is dangerous for the development of the children, so we temporarily shut it down,” stated our source.
Mother Young’s grief was brought on by an accusation against one of her staff members, Rev. Dennis Togba, of raping a disabled teenage girl, who became pregnant. Mother Young’s son, Charles Young, 60, was also implicated and has allegedly been in Central Prison for months awaiting the arrest of Rev. Togba.
“We had a meeting with the victim and the two men working at the cottage. In front of us, the teen admitted that she was forced to call Charles’ name but it was Rev. Togba who raped and impregnated her. She made us to understand that he did it on more than one occasion,” added Teta.
“My brother was arrested because they said he would be detained until Rev. Togba turns himself in,” she said.
According to a matron who has been working for Mother Young since 1991, Rev. Togba has worked at the Cottage for more than 15 years and never have they had such an allegation made against their orphanage.
“He has spent the past 15 years of his life under Mother Young’s care. He even got married in her hand and had children. A respectful man and also the spokesperson for our cottage, Rev. Togba has put our cottage in a predicament that we can’t get out of unless he turns himself in and proves that he is innocent,” she explained.
Fatima Cottage has been operating since the 1970s. According to Teta Young, it was during Mother Young’s visit to London in the 70’s that she realized that she wanted to establish a child care center. Mother Young has devoted her time, love and undivided attention in making sure that thousands of children found a home in her home, narrated Teta.
“When no one else had the thought of helping children, Mother Young did. She is the best of every mission, orphanage and cottage in Africa. She needs to be honored and taking away 45 boys and 50 girls from the Fatima Cottage is not the right way. She has helped the government take in children when there was no where else to take them, using her own money and resources. Now that she is aging, this is the thank you the government is giving her,” Teta lamented.
Staff at the cottage said most of the children taken away have been with the mission for more than 10 years and are given leave when they reach college level, to find life outside of the cottage.
When asked if any of the girls prior to the alleged victim have gotten raped or impregnated at the cottage, Teta, who grew up in the cottage and once worked as a matron and choir director said it has never happened.
“I’ve been in the cottage all my life and it has never happened. When the little girl cried on her stomach the day we found out, she confided in Mother Young. It’s alleged that someone gave my brother money to help the teen abort until they could investigate Rev. Togba and because of that, the police are saying my brother tampered with evidence,” Teta disclosed.
Meanwhile, Rev. Togba has been on the run and is reportedly communicating with his family. His family insists they do not know his whereabouts, but friends close to him say he could be hiding in his home where he grew up.
“He spent some time in Grand Gedeh in one of our cottages there, so if we are going to find him, we need to also check in Grandcess,” added a member of his household.
Teta is appealing to all of those who have been positively impacted by Mother Young’s generosity to reach out and help save the cottage. Due to lack of finances, the cottage lacks proper living conditions including ceiling boards, beds, water, and electricity. She claims that if their children are to be returned to the cottage, all of these things must first be fixed.
“We need help to save Mother Young’s dream before it’s too late. She is 92 years old and we wouldn’t want to see her go without seeing her children again. Mother Young is a godly woman and the government was too fast in taking the children without investigating. A lot of missions were born out of Fatima. The other missions are children of our cottage and never once was any one of our children abused. It needs to be investigated because Mother Young was not treated fine,” she added.