As we head into 2019 it is worth reflecting on the work our in-country partners have done in the past year and how much progress the children they care for have made.
In Nepal we fund, support and mentor two partner organisations: Sano Paila, who cares for orphaned and trafficked children, and Star Children who cares for those with HIV/AIDS. In Kenya we also work with Alfajiri, who provides a safe and nurturing space for street children.
Sano Paila – Birgunj & Janakpur, Nepal
The rescue of Kittu is a heartwarming story. This little girl who is around 6 years old (we don’t know her exact age) was found living on the street last year. The Sano Paila team tried to find her family, but to no avail. All she could tell them is that she went to a festival with her grandfather. She was tired so they sat down in the village square. Kittu fell asleep and when she woke she was alone. Her grandfather was gone and she had no idea where she was.
Kittu is now a bright, smiling and happy little girl. She will start school this year and is enjoying being in a big house with her new brothers and sisters and her loving house mother Anu.
New house in Janakpur: Sano Paila opened Courtney House which will enable them to extend the program to care for another ten orphaned children, including those who have been rescued from child trafficking. The opening was a great celebration for BTO, Sano Paila and the local community.
Bigger house in Birgunj: Sano Paila also moved the children in Birgunj into a larger family home with extra rooms and upgraded facilities. It’s nonstop in the house with the children bonding and behaving like typical siblings! There’s lots of laughter and chatter as well as quiet times for study. All are going to school and progressing well.
Star Children – Pokhara, Nepal
Opening of the HIV outreach program: This is a very exciting development. With our support and funding, Star Children has instituted an outreach program where trained staff will visit 36 vulnerable children and their families living in remote locations. In Nepal those with HIV are marginalised and services are inadequate. The outreach program will make an important contribution to the health and wellbeing of these children. There are plans to open a drop in centre soon.
What’s happening in the Star Children house? There are ten teenagers living in the house in Pokhara. Star Children reports that one of the girls came 7th in her college exams which is a great achievement. The other teens have also passed their exams. There are the usual teen issues to deal with such as balancing social life with school commitments, but everyone has time off for leisure activities.
Trauma Counselling: These kids worry about the same things all teens do like pimples and bad hair days, but it is important to remember that many suffer from the stigma attached to HIV which can cause emotional trauma. That’s why we provided specialist training for Star Children staff in trauma counselling.
Reconnecting with family: In 2018 five children under the care of Star Children began the slow process of reconnecting with their families. The safety and wellbeing of the children is our priority. Star Children make regular follow up visits, which includes surprise visits, to make sure everything is okay.
Gaining citizenship: Star Children is also working hard to gain citizenship papers for the children who don’t have any documentation. After an extensive search they found the village where one of the young men’s parents were from and where some of his extended family still live. After 19 years without a birth certificate, he finally has his papers.
Alfajiri – Nairobi, Kenya
Sharing success: Some of Alfajiri’s kids who have been successfully rehabilitated came back into the centre in 2018 to share their experience with those still living on the streets. This was a positive experience for the kids who are still suffering, as they see there is hope for a brighter future.
Art workshops: It is amazing how much can be learned about the street children while they are painting and drawing. Alfajiri’s social workers and staff chat to the kids who share stories of their lives on the streets. The kids can take a shower and put on clean clothes too, which makes a huge difference. They also get to enjoy a cooked meal. In all, this makes coming into the centre a worthwhile and uplifting experience.
Transformation through art: One of the boys who was rescued from the streets, came in to Alfajiri regularly to draw throughout the year. It is amazing that this usually withdrawn boy who suffers from epilepsy, has come out of his shell and is joining in, becoming talkative and seeking to draw his lovely coloured creations instead of being tempted back to the street.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading some of the 2018 highlights. In the coming year we will continue to work closely with our in-country partners to provide the best care for these vulnerable children and to support our partners in their endeavours.