De-institutionalisation of the NOEL NYUNDO ORPHANAGE

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1 De-institutionalisation of the NOEL NYUNDO ORPHANAGE Rwanda Hope & Homes for Children An Information Brochure from the POINT FOUNDATION Produced by the Point Foundation November 2012

2 What is: De-Institutionalisation? De-institutionalisation (DI) is the process of reintegrating children living in residential institutions (like orphanages) back into a family life. It involves reforming child care systems, finding new placements for children currently resident and setting up replacement services to support vulnerable families in non-institutional ways. Research proves there is no doubt that growing up in an orphanage has many long lasting disadvantages to a child s development, however caring the institution may be. Poverty, along with lack of childcare support systems often means institutional care seems the only alternative - struggling parents believe leaving a child at an orphanage will ensure they will be fed and have access to education. Neglected and abandoned children are taken to institutions because there is no other solution provided. Through no fault of their own, these children are growing up in an unnatural environment, lacking the individual love, care and attention that forms their life and character - and is something most of us take for granted.. CHILDREN SHOULD BE ABLE TO GROW UP IN A FAMILY - THIS THIS IS EVERY CHILD S RIGHT How does this affect the NOEL ORPHANAGE? The Noel is the largest orphanage in Rwanda with over 520 residential babies, children and young adults currently being cared for as well as 37 mentally or physically disabled young people. Nearly a third of the children there today have grown up in the institution as a direct result of losing family members during the massacres of the 1994 genocide. The huge numbers of children, and diversity of their needs makes the situation at the Noel unique and will require specialised help to ensure a positive return to family life for EVERY single child. Reintegrating the children successfully will be a long process - it cannot be done quickly, or without experienced help. It is for this reason Point Foundation are now working alongside Hope & Homes for Children (HHC) so we can pull together to establish a solid, safe and holistic support system to enable the Noel children to return to the embrace of a family life and to flourish within it. A large percentage of children at the Noel are not orphans in the true sense of the word many still have a parent or even both parents they are social orphans forced by difficult circumstances to live behind orphanage walls instead of with their own family & outside in the community A huge challenge lies ahead we cannot abandon the Noel children at such a critical time of change in their vulnerable lives. their futures need to be secured - we are ALL needed to help protect them. TOGETHER we can make it happen.

3 What will happen to the children? Orphaned and abandoned children are every society s most vulnerable members The stigma of being labelled orphan has long term damaging effects A good education gives empowerment out of the poverty trap for Rwanda s children of this millennium generation.. The welfare of the children is of the utmost priority. Their opinions, thoughts, dreams, fears and worries will be heard. EVERY CHILD WILL HAVE A VOICE and children who cannot speak will be faithfully represented. Full involvement of the child will be foremost in assessment of all their personal needs and how they view their return to family based life. This is where the expertise of Hope & Homes for Children will be vital. Each child s case is different and will need delicate care. Professional diligence will be taken in tracing and contacting birth or extended family. There will be no hasty reunifications. Counselling will be given to both the child and their family members. Social or financial problems will be taken into account and dignified, workable solutions offered. HHC will hold small, friendly group discussions to constantly inform, and listen to the children, building a trusting relationship. Children coming out of residential care and into the community will need significant support as their life skills are often limited. Point Foundation has already been working on this and will increase their help in this crucial area. Between Point Foundation and our partners at HisChase.org, educational sponsorship of children will be continued & increased, as an on-going provision until each child has completed their tuition needs. This will make a huge impact on the child s life and the financial stability of their families. During DI transition, the children will continue to receive the funding and care for their general welfare that Point Foundation has dedicated itself to providing for however long it is needed. HHC s core mission is NO CHILD IS LEFT BEHIND..and the Staff? There are over 200 staff..management, house mamas, carers & labourers - caring for the children of the Noel - most rely on their jobs to provide for their own struggling families. They are the backbone of the orphanage and will also receive due care and attention to their futures. Madam Director has given decades of care, love and protection to the Noel children her devotion needs to be acknowledged, and respect given to her retirement wishes. Information sessions will be held with all the staff to help them understand, and add their support, to every part of the process. Training will be given to selected staff who wish to be part of the DI implementing team. Community hubs set up to support the children and their families will need staffing, labour and local skills providing new employment opportunities. DI is not about closing down institutions to reduce orphan numbers - it is a complex process of removing systems of long-term residential care in large institutions, & providing a range of family-based alternatives for children, with complimentary support services which prevent family breakdown in the first place. In the UK, the last Barnados residential child care institution was closed in 1989

4 What is the future for the oldest children.? Just over 40% of Noel residents are 18 years old and above, the majority ages being years. Most will have entered the Noel at a young age, due to loss of family during the Civil War & Genocide in the 1990 s. Many cannot leave, because right now they have no relatives, no independence and nowhere to go. Sponsorship and access to secondary and higher learning tuition is vital for the older children. Not all secondary schools are free - finding funds, plus the hidden costs of uniform, stationery and books is a major hurdle and can often hinder attendance. Despite their struggles, Noel children are bright, determined and hardworking, with University students studying medicine, law, business and teaching. Those who do struggle academically need to be offered vocational training and encouragement in discovering their potential abilities. However, institutional care has left many older children lacking the social and life skills needed to progress into jobs or to live independently outside of the Noel. Point Foundation will be increasing their focus on apprenticeships, vocational training, entrepreneurial skills and micro-finance opportunities. Regular sessions will be established to guide and advise students on CV writing, job interviews and character building. ALL children, whatever age, will benefit from consistent social and life skill assistance. Housing needs will be addressed for the young adults without families. Currently: POINT FOUNDATION sponsorships include: 56 University students 10 Vocational students HIS CHASE.org sponsorships include: 19 University students 230 students of Primary or Secondary age. Who will care for the babies? Research shows that babies separated from one-to-one care & institutionalised between 0 3years are at most psychological risk. With support from District Authorities and the community, HHC plan on establishing a gatekeeping policy, averting the necessity for babies to be brought to the institution in the first place. Initially, Rwandan emergency foster carers will be trained and ready to take individual care of abandoned babies & young children within their own homes, with detailed supervision. Local support systems will need to be set up to help & advise single mothers, widows and widowers, or relatives struggling to cope with children under difficult circumstances. Parenting skill centres will be required - and day care & nursery crèche centres, to enable parents to work but still care for their children. Training in improved hygiene, baby care and early development skills will still progress within the Noel by Point Foundation. Continuing provision of regular supplies of milk formula have been pledged by Presence Ministries,. Focus will be on family placements, fostering, local & national adoption.

5 How can YOU help? Replacing institutions with a range of alternative child support services requires a different and radical approach to the whole concept of childcare. Funding: is vital to continue providing on-going assistance Unite: join us & others supporting the children beyond the Noel Nourish: regular food supplies must absolutely be maintained Donate: Invest: every child will still need clothes, shoes, toiletries, books in local education, health care, micro-finance businesses Nurture: help maintain support, advice & guidance for all ages Give: whatever you can every penny has a significant purpose Helping the children of Noel Nyundo is about thinking ahead building lives by giving security, guidance, sponsorship, mentoring and empowerment enabling them to have a chance to successfully thrive beyond life in an institution. Your support will not just be helping a child it will also be helping the child s community HHC is an international charity that works to enable all children to grow up experiencing the love of a family. They are leading experts in de-institutionalisation and reforming childcare systems. To find out more about the dedicated work of Hope & Homes for Children, visit their website: POINT FOUNDATION Point Foundation work goes beyond aiding the Noel s day to day survival needs, it also focuses on responding to the children s dreams to grow, learn and achieve their potential. Without donors there would be no hope. YOU make the difference YOU are the helping hand

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