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LATEST NEWS

Update: Haiti Appeal

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ACCI Relief is constantly working to keep children in families. In post-disaster contexts, like the one following Hurricane Matthew that hit Haiti last year, children are often at risk of ending up in institutions (orphanages and other residential care facilities).

This can happen when families feel forced to give up their children when faced with the harsh realities of not being able to provide a home or adequate care for their children. This is of particular concern in Haiti, as the 2010 Earthquake saw numerous children unnecessarily placed in institutions following the disaster. These were children that had families – families that did not have access to the support needed to keep their children with them as they rebuilt their lives.

Two families that were struggling to care for their children in the aftermath of the Hurricane last year have found a way to remain together thanks to the work of our implementing partner Lumos and the generosity of ACCI supporters.

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From a Beggar to a Manager

Sepheo_blog_photo.jpgJoshua and Belinda Groves founders of Sepheo and project partners of ACCI Relief are passionate about seeing every child off the streets and living out their purpose in Lesotho. They do not treat the surface issues of poverty alone, but identify what has driven children to the streets and focus' there effort there. Joshua writes about one such young man who was found as a beggar but is now a manager.

"A few weeks ago, I was walking down the main street of Maseru on my way to a meeting. From afar, someone called my name and chased me down. It was one of our recent graduates from Sepheo School. He wanted to say hello. He asked if he could buy me a coffee. I said that I would have to take him up on his offer another day, as I was already late. Without a second passing, he pulled a wad of cash from his pocket and passed me a 50 Rand note ($US3.5/$A5) and said I could buy myself one later. This amount was enough to buy 3 or 4 coffees. Of course, I declined his offer of cash and promised we would get together for coffee soon.

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KINNECTED: What is Kinnected Doing? Part 5

What_is_KINNECTED-_(2).pngREINTEGRATION AND REUNIFICATION
SEPHEO

 

OVERVIEW:

Sepheo was established in 2013 to help children and youth living and begging on the streets of Maseru, Lesotho’s capital. Through building relationships with the children and researching their family situations Sepheo gained an understanding of the causes of child and youth homelessness, which included a lack of supervision at home, poor coping skills, family issues or difficulty coping in mainstream schools. They also found that when a child decides to run away and live on the street rarely do relatives persuade them to return. As a result living on the streets quickly becomes a permanent arrangement, due to a lack of appropriate intervention. The longer children are on the streets the harder it is to convince them to leave as they become more comfortable and pick up negative behaviours. Programs providing services to these children (in particular on-street feeding and clothing) often increase the number of children as it incentivises life on the streets over remaining with or returning to their families. Sepheo realised that the best way to improve these children’s long term outcomes was to help them reintegrate back into family life; either with their parents or extended relatives, and receive support to enable them to thrive in that family environment.

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KINNECTED: What is Kinnected Doing? Part 4

What_is_KINNECTED-_(2).pngFAMILY PRESERVATION
HELPKIDS

 

THE ISSUE

Whilst Sri Lanka has made significant economic gains since the end of the civil war, the country and its people still face significant challenges including poverty, poor quality education and inequality. Children from disadvantaged families often struggle with mainstream educational system because of their ‘class’ difference, no birth certificate, behavioural problems or lack of parental interest. These children are at particular risk of being separated from their families and placed into residential care.

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KINNECTED: What is Kinnected Doing? Part 3

What_is_KINNECTED-_(2).pngFAMILY BASED ALTERNATIVE CARE
CHILDREN IN FAMILIES

 

THE ISSUE

There are tens of thousands of children in Cambodia living in orphanages however 77% of these children are not orphans but are placed into institutions for reasons of poverty. With little resource being directed to preserve vulnerable families, desperate parents often have no choice but to put their children in an orphanage in order to ensure that they receive adequate food, clothing and an education. This is in stark contrast to the Cambodian Government’s policy, which states that children should grow up in families where possible and residential care should be a last resort and a temporary option for children in recognition of the detrimental impacts residential care can have on children’s development.

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KINNECTED: What is Kinnected Doing? Part 2

What_is_KINNECTED-_(2).pngCHILD ABANDONMENT PREVENTION AND CRISIS PREGNANCY SUPPORT SERVICES
MOTHER’S HEART CAMBODIA

 

OVERVIEW

Mother’s Heart was established in response to the absence of crisis pregnancy services in Cambodia, which resulted in women who faced a crisis pregnancy and who are without support networks with limited options other than unsafe abortion or abandoning their newborn babies.

Women in Cambodia face crisis pregnancies for many different reasons including abandonment, rape, incest and trafficking. Whatever the circumstances, unplanned pregnancies are often a source of shame not only for women but also for their families. 

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KINNECTED: What is Kinnected Doing? Part 1

What_is_KINNECTED-_(2).pngACCI Relief’s Kinnected program employs a three-pronged approach towards the goal of reducing the use of residential care and upholding children’s right to grow up in a family.

 

1. KINNECTED PROJECTS

Kinnected has projects operating in 10 different countries, which fall under the following categories:

A. FAMILY PRESERVATION AND ABANDONMENT PREVENTION PROJECTS

These are services that seek to identify families at risk of imminent breakdown and provide intense support services to prevent separation and/or child abandonment.

 

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KINNECTED: What are the Answers? Part 5

What_is_KINNECTED-_(1).pngETHICAL ALTERNATIVES

 

SUPPORT FAMILIES, STRENGTHEN COMMUNITIES.

1. Volunteer in a program that seeks to preserve families and prevent family separation. Volunteers could work with whole families or parents to strengthen their capacity to look after their own children.

2. Volunteer within family reunification programs. Help a family prepare for their child’s return by helping them renovate their house, get access to a water source or set up a small business or a veggie patch.

3. Volunteer in programs run in the community that everyone can access. Examples might be English programs, sports programs, creative workshops or educational support programs.

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KINNECTED: What are the Answers? Part 4

ENCOURAGING ETHICAL VOLUNTEERINGWhat_is_KINNECTED-_(1).png

 

HOW VOLUNTEERS AND VISITORS CAN BEST SUPPORT VULNERABLE CHILDREN

The plight of vulnerable children in the developing world is challenging and moving and stirs many good-hearted people to seek opportunities to volunteer within programs that assist children such as orphanages and shelters. Without careful consideration and awareness of the broader issues, our good intentions could contribute to the exploitation and vulnerability of the children we seek to help. For this reason Kinnected calls for an end to orphanage tourism and volunteering and advocates for ethical alternatives.

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KINNECTED: What are the Answers? Part 3

What_is_KINNECTED-_(1).pngIMPLEMENTING BEST PRACTICE IN THE CARE OF CHILDREN (cont.)

 

PRACTICE FIVE: SMALL FAMILY-LIKE RESIDENTIAL CARE

When all other forms of family and community based care options on the continuum have been deemed not in the best interest of the individual child, then residential care might be the most appropriate option. Preference should be given to small family like facilities that adhere to high standards of care, are legally registered, have qualified staff, good child protection policies, and facilitate the child to continue to participate in community and cultural life outside of the residential care centre.

PRACTICE SIX: SOUND REINTEGRATION AND REUNIFICATION PROGRAMS

All forms of residential care should have a reintegration program that helps each child develop a plan to ensure they are able to be reintegrated into the community as soon as possible. This plan should be developed as soon as a child enters care and should be overseen and monitored by a competent staff member.

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