The central importance of families has been crucial to the way that The Small Things has expanded over the last year or so. Recognition that orphanage care is not always the most appropriate response to difficult situations led us to set up our outreach program, which helps families in need of support to keep their children at home. This may involve giving weekly food packages, assisting in finding the parent a job or whatever will be of most help.
|Fanueli smiling with his after-lunch cake|
The clearest example of the way this works is the case of Fanueli, a three year-old whose mother was struggling to care for him after his grandmother’s death. He is now coming in daily to attend the orphanage pre-school, where he receives breakfast, lunch and vitamins as well as education. By helping his mother a little with the cost of living, our outreach programme has meant that Fanueli has not needed residential care. His mother is now working for The Small Things at the orphanage, where she started with us as a cleaner but will hopefully end up as a fully trained mama with a secure income.
2. When it is not possible for families to care for their child at home even with extra support
- Mama Pendo, the head mama at the orphanage, is always consulted. Often it is she who is first aware of the situation and starts the process.
- Each child is evaluated by Dr. Kiwesa, the hospital’s head doctor.
- Each child is assessed by out Tanzanian social worker and Tanzanian outreach worker.
Only if they are all unanimous that the child cannot be adequately cared for with their family, even if we offered them outreach support, do we take them into residential care.
If the child is accepted into the orphanage, what do we do to keep families connected?
|Here’s Farajah’s older sister Maureen popping in for a visit.|
Recently we told you the story of Glory, whose father has been struggling to look after her for nearly two years and who has recently come to live at the orphanage because he can’t give her what she needs. As a snapshot social media post, this understandably raised some concern among some engaged and responsible readers.