Moses

Children belong in families, not institutions

In Uganda, 50,000 children are growing up in children’s homes, but only a minority are orphans. Poverty or family breakdown lead many parents to leave their children in institutional care.

A child with a family has people to love and support them even after they turn 18. But a child in an institution, even a well-run one, is significantly less likely to thrive.

When he was still a baby, Moses’s mother Sharon left him at a home. She was alone, poor and suffering from mental illness.

This could have been the end of the story.

But Viva’s partner network, CRANE, are passionate believers that children belong in families. Network members are local people living in communities across Kampala and, when Sharon was well again, CRANE members were determined to help.

They met with Sharon to talk about bringing Moses home, and gave her specialist counselling and parenting training. They helped her to build a small business and generate an income. They supported her as she re-established contact with Moses and rebuilt their relationship.

They even renovated her home.

And then, finally, on the day Sharon brought Moses home, her friends and neighbours threw a party. The boy who had been lost was found, and the celebrations were heartfelt.

Because Viva’s partner network, CRANE, is made up of local grassroots organisations, they are the eyes and ears of the communities in which they belong.  Working together, they form a safety net through which they are determined not to let people like Sharon and Moses fall.

CRANE has now helped 1,000 children to resettle into a family.

Viva’s big dream in Kampala is to see a city without orphans where children are growing up in safe and loving families.

More information on issues relating to the number of children growing up in children’s homes in Uganda, and the high proportion who have existing parents, can be found in the Ugandan Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development’s 2015 Alternative Care Framework. You can read more about how children growing up in institutional care are less likely to thrive than those in families in this report from the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland.