DI (de-institulization), just as to many of us this word was not familiar to me. I assumed that having children in charitable institutions was good until I joined Vision Africa – Give a Child a Future. This exposed me to the true reality and shocking revelations of how children feel and what they go through in the institutions. My interaction with such children in the institutions and care leavers narrating and sharing their real life experiences just proving the urgency of de-institulization.
My heart really breaks when I accompany children from CCIs for family visits. The distance and coldness between the child, the siblings, parents/guardians so evident and alarming, the children not able to perform the very basic tasks/chores, misunderstandings between families and the helplessness of the child! This is what we condemn them to, a system that does not support their thriving to achieve full potential and harmonious development.
I recently visited a 17 year old boy who had been expelled from an institution allegedly for misbehaving and consequently had dropped out of school, His mother is mentally challenged and didn’t comprehend much of what was happening. His uncle realised that the boy was wasting. Thankfully he bought him a goat to take care of as well as support the mother with other household chores. This amazingly helped the boy to gradually overcome the life routines and limited exposure to family life. Vision Africa has walked with the boy through the period and he has now been admitted to and resumes schooling come January 2017.
I now know and believe that children can only thrive and achieve full potential and development in a family. Let us all unite and end violating children’s rights by condemning them into institutions.
By Winfred Kavutha
Vulnerable Child Support Officer
Find out more about our Vulnerable Child Support Programme – https://www.vision-africa.org/vulnerable-child-support/