Having the care and support of a family is a key element of child protection and identifying ways to strengthen the role of families in the lives of vulnerable and marginalised children is central to the work of ChildHope and its partners in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Many of our projects identify children who have become separated from their families and seek to reunify them with their parents or other primary caregivers, while other projects help identify alternative livelihoods and safer communities for families living and working in hazardous environments, for examples rubbish dumps and quarries. Reunification or resettlement are just two aspects of a holistic approach to support by partners that also emphasises not only the importance of education, especially for girls and disabled children, but also the responsibility of families in ensuring all their children access learning opportunities.
Street Child of Sierra Leone, ChildHope’s partner in Freetown, targets activities on and around the rubbish dump in the east of the city, where vulnerable children are assisted with school enrolment and their families take up vocational training courses in a range of subjects including food preparation, mechanics and hair and beauty. With their new skills, the families are no longer dependent on working on the dump site and the majority start up their own small business. With the money they earn they are able to meet the basic needs of their families, contribute to education costs and save small amounts each week, an impossibility in the past.
Isata, her two siblings and mother and father relocated from the dumpsite to a neighbouring community in year 1 of the project. The children are going to school and Isata is already preparing for her English exam. Her mother used a livelihood grant to set up business preparing and selling food outside the local school and her father has a stall selling a range of products, small day to day necessities. Isata’s father had observed and learned from the Street Child of Sierra Leone savings model of collecting small amounts of money each week (5,000 Leones) from local women and then returning their savings after 20 weeks. With the lump sum of 100,000 Leones (11.00 GBP) the women were able to spend the money on larger items for their family or invest further in their business. He decided to copy the savings model and continues to collect and save the money on behalf of the women so making the approach sustainable.