Emmanuel Children’s Program, South Sudan
In South Sudan, many children were orphaned, by the long war, which culminated in independence in 2011. In Marial Bai, the community stepped in to arrange carers for the children. These are mostly members of the child’s extended family. To enable these families to support an extra child, Emmanuel Orphan’s Primary School was established, providing the children with a primary education and one meal each day. Most children came to the school with very broken schooling so the age range in each class was enormous. There were many teenagers in primary school, which means the school has to provide for children who are parents or becoming parents, which it has done through night classes. Emmanuel is moving forward, looking for government support to fund teacher’s salaries and World Food Programme support for the food program. They are hoping to change the name to avoid the stigma associated with orphans. Long term, the school will become part of the wider education system, but with the current internal crisis within South Sudan, Emmanuel is continually pressed to take more children. Currently there are about 400 children at Emmanuel, with classes extended to year eight (primary) for the first time in 2017. Looking forward, the hope is to work with the carers on ways to increase their income so that they can cover the cost of education for their extra children directly themselves. Through the eyes of a child, there is home and hope.
Khayelihle Children’s Village, Zimbabwe
God sets the lonely in families (Psalm 68:6) is the key text for Khayelihle Children’s Village and for many years they have provided a beautiful loving home for orphaned and abandoned children. Research is showing that even where families are less than perfect, children do better in a family than an institution. Aware of this, KCV has embarked on a reconnecting program, to restore children to their extended families when this is safe and healthy for them. African culture supports this move in that children are almost automatically adopted by extended family when a parent dies. For KCV, the challenge is to first identify a child’s relatives. Then there is a process of reintroducing them to each other and, over time, assessing whether the new home is safe and sustaining for the child. Often relatives are struggling with few resources themselves, so KCV is providing livelihood training to help carers gain income to support their expanded family. The residential village of KCV provides a supportive and loving home for children while they move through the reconnecting process and for those for whom no relatives can be found. The village, currently of about 60 children, is organised in small family groups, each with their own accommodation and house parents, and of course, roles for each of the children. Through the eyes of a child, there is security and hope.