MAKING FAMILIES NOT ORPHANS

‘In Uganda, more than 50,000 children are growing up in orphanages. Nearly all have a family. Orphanages make orphans out of children.

Every day, families in crisis or poverty are forced to give up their children in the hope of a better life. Decades of research prove what we know in our hearts: a family is the best place for a child to grow.

We are reimagining how we care, rebuilding families, and repurposing orphanages.’ –  Child’s i Foundation.

On 16th August, a workshop was organized by the Child’s i Foundation in partnership with 1MillionHome wherein discussion, were care reforms, existing gaps in care reforms, challenges, the achievements of the childcare reform initiatives, together with other organizations/ initiatives in attendance working towards the success and implementation of the reforms.

Child’s i Foundation is a registered NGO in Uganda; and a registered charity in England and Wales. Their slogan is – ‘Reimagine.Rebuild.Repurpose.’  While the body’s vision is ‘one day, in a Uganda free of orphanages, all children will belong and grow up in safe and loving families.’

In discussion with several other social workers at the workshop, Michele Schneidler the president/coo of 1MILLIONHOME revealed that she was once a foster mom for over six years, and this among other factors influenced her interest in Child Care Facilities, and later motivated her involvement in the vision of 1 Million Children in Homes.  She further reveals that when she’d first stepped into her role at 1MILLIONHOME, she’d realized that a lot of people were talking about care reforms but they did not know how to do it. A lot of people did not know how to transform the model of the care, or what to do with their employees once the care reform had been fully transformed. Not to mention, how they would talk to their donors who have been supportive all the way through.

Michele Schneidler the president/coo of 1MILLIONHOME
1MILLIONHOME is on a mission to transform models of care to reunite children with their families.

[Note that: A lot of people still do not know how best to go about Care Reforms and several others are not willing to even partake in care reforms.]

Being a first-timer in attendance of this discussion, I learned of the various achievements and effort the bodies into care reforms are putting out however, it is still very low almost as if nothing has been done yet and; how much work there is to do especially in our given local communities, as much as the social workers, may be aware of how damaging it is for children to grow up in orphanages, the parents do not know. The communities do not know. It is instead the other way round, where growing up away from how is looked at as the ultimate dream – something to be proud of, or revered in such a way that whoever grew up no matter their absurdities,  they had a fancy life elsewhere (in the orphanages or childcare facilities)  and thus did not have to endure the struggles of growing up in a broke neighborhood, a financially unstable home, or in a community less of’ what the parent would otherwise have  loved the child to grow up in.

This is the mindset that a lot of people in local communities carry, (PS, I personally know this ha-ha) and in case of doubt, try interacting with people in your communities, see what they think about a child growing up in a childcare facility, you’ll be shocked. This mindset is not harbored by only adults but also the children. Remember, this is a Uganda/Africa where only a few of the population are informed about emotional development. We’ll pay attention to everything else but ignore the emotional aspect. This is exactly why you/we need to pay attention to/ explore the emotional and psychological well-being of children in Child Care Facilities and also care leavers. Read the previous blog on this topic HERE.

It is true that there are a lot of good-hearted, good-intentioned people setting out to make orphanages, yet are truly unaware of how much damage orphanages breed. In my work with a certain NGO and the youths (its beneficiaries), I have come to realize that most youths who grew up in struggling homes but never orphanages, dream of starting orphanages at one point in time. This they want to do because they realize they grew up in struggling homes but each time they meet someone in a worse state say a street child, they feel the need to go out of their way and create institutions where these children would be as in their minds, they’ve been redeemed and thus feel the responsibility to redeem others.

What does it mean? You’re now aware of this if you’re reading this blog; which means it’s part of your duty to correct what has gone wrong.

HERE’S SOME IMPACT OF CHILD’S i FOUNDATION – 2018

  • 133 children were placed in families from orphanages.
  • 9,739 children were supported to stay with their families
  • 1,118 families received direct support from social workers
  • 27 foster carers were trained to provide loving homes for children in need
  • 0 children were placed in an orphanage in Tororo in 2018

[Source: www.childifoundation.org ]

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