Orphanages

Pivoting Methods to Create Sustainable Impact: One Woman’s Story of Transition to Family-Based Care

In the local Ugandan dialect, Akola means simply “she works.” Yet, for many Ugandan women and their families, it represents much more. Akola Project began in 2007 with the mission to empower women in poverty to transform the well-being of their families and communities through economic development. Since its start, Akola has helped create economic stability for 400 women and over 3,000 dependents in their care. This impact is possible because of a young woman’s willingness to pivot her method of achieving her calling. In 2004, Brittany Merrill Underwood, Akola’s founder, was moved to compassion after meeting Sarah, a [...]

Pivoting Methods to Create Sustainable Impact: One Woman’s Story of Transition to Family-Based Care2021-01-12T16:22:35-05:00

A Place to Call Home, A Person(s) to Call Family

Millions of children in Africa are growing up in orphanages, residential care centers, and children’s homes. Most of these institutions identify themselves as “homes” and “family” to these children. But are these residential care institutions really “home” or “family”? I grew up in an institution, and it didn’t feel like a family and I didn’t have the feeling that I was home. On the contrary, the place gave me a feeling of emptiness, uncertainty, and confusion. My two siblings (younger sister and older brother) were taken to a hospital, then to an institution after our mother was killed. On her [...]

A Place to Call Home, A Person(s) to Call Family2020-05-05T00:46:12-04:00

Finding Life After Institution

In Kenya, a movement of remarkable new leaders is working to assist young adults who have aged out of institutions and are trying to find their way in life. This network of people is the Kenya Society of Careleavers (KESCA) organization, “by and for adults (18+ years), who spent all or part of their childhood in children homes, orphanages, and/or rehabilitation centers.” The systems that “raised” them often provide no mechanisms for navigating life after they leave the institution, and with no familial support network, life can be devastatingly bleak. Magnifying this is a culture in which family and community [...]

Finding Life After Institution2020-05-05T11:31:37-04:00

An Introduction to Better Volunteering on Behalf of Orphans and Vulnerable Children

In recent years, a trend has been on the rise where travelers and short-term mission groups volunteer in residential care facilities with children. When traveling to economically poor countries, it is easy to become overwhelmed with the difficulties that orphans and vulnerable children face, and it is natural to want to take action, but how we engage can make a world of difference. Motivations for volunteering are diverse, and most visitors have good intentions. Many Christian groups have made these types of visits to orphanages during short-term missions trips to provide care for orphans. Other volunteers make this part [...]

An Introduction to Better Volunteering on Behalf of Orphans and Vulnerable Children2021-01-12T16:15:10-05:00

Continuum of Care Resources Now Available!

Faith to Action is excited to announce the launch of three new resources on the continuum of care. The continuum of care provides an overview of a range of alternative care options for children who have been separated from parental care. In keeping with research and evidence-based guidance on the importance of family in the life of a child, the continuum places a high priority on family care while also recognizing the role that temporary residential care and small group homes can play in the spectrum of options to meet individual situations and needs. The continuum of care highlights [...]

Continuum of Care Resources Now Available!2020-05-05T11:15:15-04:00

Reducing Stigma: Retrak’s Model of Reunifying Street Children With Families

For any child longing to be reunited with his or her family, the emotional and psychological hurdles can be enormous. This is particularly true for children being reintegrated with their families and communities after living on the streets—due to a range of issues, including family breakdown, death of a parent, and poverty. Street children, in some ways, live their lives in the shadows. They are often forced into unpaid labor positions or a lifestyle of begging. Yet despite the aspects of life that are largely unseen, the stigma attached to a child who has lived on the streets can [...]

Reducing Stigma: Retrak’s Model of Reunifying Street Children With Families2020-05-05T11:11:21-04:00

Webinar on Transition to Family-Based Care

Next Wednesday, July 22nd, Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) will be hosting a webinar related to their "Replicable Models of Transition to Family-Based Care," project. Leaders from Buckner International, ACCIR, and the Akola Project, and will join CAFO President Jedd Medefind and answer audience questions, in addition to presenting on their own experiences. The Faith to Action Initiative is hopeful that many organizations and churches will join the webinar and be inspired to make steps toward engaging in and supporting family-based care. The webinar is scheduled for 2-3:30pm EDT. Register for free today! If you're not able to join the [...]

Webinar on Transition to Family-Based Care2020-05-05T11:05:56-04:00

The Long Road Back: Transitioning to Family Care in Rwanda

In Rwanda, an estimated 860,000 children and young people have lost one or both parents from the 1994 genocide, HIV and AIDS, or poverty. The strain that this has placed on families is overwhelming. In 2012 there were 3,300 children living in 33 institutions, commonly known as orphanages, across the country. Hope and Homes for Children (HHC), an organization working to place vulnerable children in family-based care and prevent institutional care for children, is partnering with the Rwandan government, UNICEF, and other partners to transition children out of all 33 institutions and into loving, stable, safe families. As of [...]

The Long Road Back: Transitioning to Family Care in Rwanda2020-05-05T11:02:53-04:00

Project RED: Empowering Families for Abundant Lives

El Salvador is the most densely populated country in Latin America and has the unfortunate standing as one of the world’s most violent countries. With this reality comes widespread poverty and a breakdown of the family structure across society. Publicly funded programs and an adequate protection system to ensure the wellbeing of children simply do not exist. In 2009, upheaval once again become a reality for orphans living in institutions, with the introduction of a new law called Law for Integral Child and Adolescent Protection (LEPINA), which is drawn from the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child. [...]

Project RED: Empowering Families for Abundant Lives2020-05-05T11:01:14-04:00

Children in Families: A Community Approach to Reintegration

Everyone in Kampong knows Sopheat* — his mischievous laugh, his lively personality, his story. Sopheat was among the very first children to be placed with a foster family in Kampong, a Cambodian village of sweeping rice paddies and swaying sugar palm trees. Sopheat’s street is now home to several other children living with foster families, and over the past few years their village has welcomed 35 children previously living in vulnerable situations. Children in Families (CIF) is a Christian organization in Cambodia working to reintegrate at-risk children into families. Many of these children live in orphanages after being abandoned [...]

Children in Families: A Community Approach to Reintegration2020-05-05T12:42:34-04:00

HelpKids Centre: Supporting the Love of Families in Sri Lanka

Family-based, alternative care for orphans and vulnerable children is on the rise in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Alison Atkinson and her husband Narel joined Australian Christian Churches International Relief (ACCI) 10 years ago, as field workers in Colombo. They established the HelpKids Centre, a local, community-based organization that strengthens local families living in slums and severe poverty. It functions as a community center, providing early childhood education, daycare support, counseling for parents, and medical assistance, supports women in accessing vocational training, and coordinates women’s and children’s clubs. The Atkinson’s approach to care for vulnerable children has changed over the years. [...]

HelpKids Centre: Supporting the Love of Families in Sri Lanka2021-01-12T16:03:17-05:00

Out of Isolation and Into Families

In Armenia there are around 4,500 children living in residential institutions, a situation caused by the weak social protection system, an insufficient number of community-based services and lack of gate-keeping mechanisms due to overall weakness and inefficiency of the system, leftover from the Soviet Union. In the last decade, the Government of Armenia (GoA) initiated the process of reorganization of residential institutions for children and began making significant investments in the development of social services and program alternatives to residential care. However, Armenia faces multiple difficulties in sustaining various initiatives and programs, and the NGO sector and UN agencies remain [...]

Out of Isolation and Into Families2021-01-12T16:01:11-05:00

Bethany’s Foster-to-Adopt Program

The family unit is at the core of African culture and society; decisions are family decisions and the emphasis is placed on the collective will rather than the individual. When a child becomes an orphan because of poverty, war, death, illness, or some other cause, relatives will often take in a child. However, the idea of taking in a child who is not from one’s own family or tribe is a newer concept. Ethiopia, home to 80 million people, has over 5 million orphans or vulnerable children. The government child welfare system in Ethiopia is still in its early stages [...]

Bethany’s Foster-to-Adopt Program2020-05-05T13:35:55-04:00