"Every child and young person should live in a supportive, protective and caring environment that promotes his or her full potential."
The United Nations’ Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children
Institutional care should be the last resort for survivors of trafficking, abuse and violence. Living in an institution is detrimental to a child’s physical, social and emotional well-being. Lack of long-term, consistent caregivers, lack of autonomy and lack of individualised care can further traumatise these girls who have already been denied the nurturing environment needed to develop healthy relationships, social skills and emotional resilience.
For the best possible chance at a meaningful future, survivors need safe, stable, nurturing family-based care.
In 2011, we were increasingly becoming aware of the damaging effects of institutional living, so we took the step of replacing an outdated model of residential care with Family-based Group Homes, with great success. The girls responded well, and life is calmer and more nurturing.
Implementation of this program taught us that although this family is not related, the family unit is naturally assimilated into the community. The children make friends outside and the Foster family receives invitations to social events.
We have 5 Family Group Homes, each having a Mother and 6 children.
Some of the children need respite care, and stay with us for a year or so, while the girl receives counselling and support after thier traumatic life events. Often their family lives in poverty and lacks safe housing. We work with the families, to help them get back onto their feet emotionally and economically. Sometimes the mother needs to move location from an abusive marriage or to move away from stigma given by a local community. When the mother/family is settled, then their child can be safely reintegrated.
However, some children will never be able to be reintegrated is their safety is seriously compromised within their own family. These girls stay with us long-term until they are old enough to be independent.
30 GIRLS LIVE IN 5 OUR FAMILY GROUP HOMES
STEP BY STEP
The process of taking children into our care follows these steps:
- Referral from other organization
- Assessment in organization
- Assessment of mother and family
- Assessment of living place of family
- Residential service
- Preparation for reintegration
The overall aim is to provide shelter service in a family environment while promoting health, education, emotional and social growth
- To ensure the right to safety and survival
- To reduce the risk of further abuse by providing the safe residential service
- To strengthen and prepare the families in the community to received their children
- To reintegrate in family
- To run five Family Group Home families, with 6 members providing all their needed basic support.
- To provide quality education and essential extra activities for their physical, social and emotional development.
HOW WE DO IT
The following activities were carried out in this program:
- Rearing children in a family environment
- Organizing their general health checkup and wellbeing
- Enhancing mental wellbeing via Psychosocial counseling and therapies
- Arranging their schooling according to their educational background
- Organizing and managing various cultural celebrations and recreational activities
- Facilitating life skills sessions and raising their awareness on social issues
- Assisting children to choose career through career coaching
- Bridging the reintegration process and sustaining it by follow up home visits
- Working step wise based on individualized case management services
One girl's story...
A young girl, called Pravja, was so keen to support her family financially that she took risk of leaving her home with her friend without informing her family and got into a problem that changed her life forever.
Pravja was in grade 7 (age 11) when she was persuaded by her friend to get a job and earn 3000/-Nrs (approx £20) per mth in another town. Secretly she left home with the friend. This friend had married young and was living in Bouddha with her in-laws and husband. Pravja lived with them there hoping that she would start her new job soon but there was no sign of it!
When her married friend went away for few days, her friend's husband started to sexually abuse Pravja. Then she understood their reason to bring her there.
Pravja's parents had come to Kathmandu from another district 17 years ago, hoping for a good future. Their life had been very hard, bringing up thier children. Her parents were devastated when they learned that Pravja had run away, and had looked everywhere. When they received the news that Pravja was in Bouddha, they rushed to get her and were heartbroken to find her in this abused condition. They asked support of another Children's Organisation to take the case to court and prosecute the perpetrator. CWISH enabled justice and the culprit imprisoned. However, as Pravja and her family were migrants and very poor, they were threatened for their lives, so they had to leave the area.
Pravja's parents became one of our Family Group Home parents and served with us for 2 years. When Pravja had left school, they decided to leave Asha and start their own new life in the community.
Currently Pravja is studying nursing, her brother is still in school, and her mother works for a daily-wage and her father works on a construction site. They are doing really well.
Four of our Family Group Homes are kindly supported by Global Fund For Children, Project Didi Australia, Gentle Rain and Katkids (Bemuda), TAI Spain and individual donors. However we urgently need more donors to support our fifth home. If you can help, please do.