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The Consequences

A heart-warming story of two very different families - one Muslim, one Christian - coming together to raise a baby in 1990s Watford, forming ties that changed each other's lives.

Two families from very different backgrounds, one street and a baby on a doorstep. This series charts the story of how a young Christian couple came to entrust the care of their little daughter to a Muslim family that lived nearby in 1990s Watford. They were strangers but the couple - Peris Mbuthia and Martin Gitonga - needed help, as immigrants from Kenya working in low paid jobs with a child to support and no family to step in. They were struggling and their relationship was under strain. Early one morning, Martin left his flat with six month old Sandra zipped inside his jacket and handed her over to the Zafars across the road while he went to work at a warehouse. This arrival at the door was an event that changed the course of all their lives - that day the baby girl became the Zafars' Doorstep Daughter. And a special, enduring bond develops between Sandra and the Zafar’s daughter Saiqa. It is a story of faith, trust and love - a modern day telling of how it takes a village to raise a child.

In many ways it was an ideal arrangement. Sandra's parents built their careers and stabilised their relationship while little Sandra stayed with the Zafars. In turn the Zafars had all the rewards of watching Sandra grow through the baby and toddler years, filling a gap in their lives that reconnected them as a family too.

When Peris and Martin had immigration issues and decided to return to Kenya the relationship had to end and no one felt that more harshly than Saiqa. She had cared for little Sandra, her Doorstep Daughter, like a mum through her formative late teen years.

In this final episode, those involved explore the lasting consequences of what was a very unusual arrangement and the sacrifices that made it work.

Producer: Sally Chesworth
Sound: Richard Hannaford
Editor: Gail Champion
Exec Editor: Richard Knight

Available now

14 minutes