Join us in raising funds for the most vulnerable
Through an exciting and varied partnership, Eden Private Staff is now supporting Hope and Homes for Children. We are working on a specific project giving our clientèle a tangible focus which will help them see the direct difference they are making to vulnerable children’s lives.
There are an estimated 8 million children growing up around the world in bleak, loveless institutions abandoned as a result of poverty, family breakdown or disability; hidden away in facilities that rarely met even their most basic needs. Hope and Homes for Children works in 8 countries across Eastern Europe and Africa to provide children with the love and care that only a family can give. As part of our pioneering work we have developed a unique model of deinstitutionalisation: closing damaging orphanages, preventing families from breaking down and building sustainable national childcare systems. Our model has been recognised by UNICEF and the World Health Organisation as best practice in the field.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is where our work began; in 1994 we began working in the war-torn country to rebuild the devastated Bjelave Dom Children’s Home in Sarajevo. Since then the focus of our work has evolved from rebuilding institutions to moving children into family environments as part of sustainable reform of the child protection system. Over the last 20 years we have closed a total of 65 institutions in Central and Eastern Europe, enabling thousands of children to move into family placements with access to the love and nurture they desperately need.
It is fifteen years since the end of the Bosnian War yet the country continues to experience the impact of this conflict. Nearly 20% of the population (a million people) live below the poverty line and women, children and ethnic minorities remain particularly marginalised and vulnerable. The child protection system remains heavily reliant on institutional care, over 1,000 children are growing up in 15 institutions and the country lacks the range of services needed to support struggling families and prevent unnecessary institutionalisation of children.
We are currently working to close the Tuzla Institution for children and young adults. When we started our work in the institution there were 81 children living there. By tracing families,reintegrating children with their biological or extended families or by finding them suitable alternative family based care, there are only 50 children still living in the institution. We are aiming that by the end of 2015 every child will spend Christmas with a loving family.
As part of the greater project we focus on preventing families from breaking down in the first place. With your help, we can develop a range of essential family support services in Bosnia and Herzegovina to benefit vulnerable children and families at risk of institutionalisation. This project is a crucial part of our wider programme to build a fully functional family-based child protection system in the county and to significantly improve the lives of children currently growing up in the Tuzla Institution by enabling their successful transition from institutional to family based care. Here, we will train childcare professionals, transitioning children from the institution into families and provide services to better support vulnerable families and prevent more children being placed in institutions. These services are needed to reduce the number of children being placed in the institution, improve the quality of care and wellbeing of children in families and to ensure that once the institution is closed, families struggling to care for their children are able to access appropriate support.
One of these services will be a Mother and Baby Unit. This unit will provide a safe place for mothers to stay with their new born babies while accessing support from social workers, psychologists and engaging in education programmes on child development and independent living. Support will also be provided to rebuild family relationships, access appropriate services and benefits and find housing. This will be built in one of the rooms now being unused in the existing institution.
We will also give the institutional building a new purpose by creating a Day Care Centre for vulnerable children to provide a safe and stimulating environment, while parents access employment or training and education. Day care services such as these can be a real lifeline for parents struggling to care for their children. In addition we will create an Emergency Reception Centre to provide short-term emergency care for children unable to remain with their parents. Depending on the needs and circumstances of each child they will then either be reintegrated with their families (wherever safe and possible) or moved into alternative family based care such as foster families.
“I don’t want my baby to go into an institution; I want her to have love. People working in the orphanage do not give love in the way a mother or father does. A child needs to see a mother and father and have love and cuddles. If she has love, she grows”. Bojan and his partner Asya both grew up in an institution in Bosnia. They now have a baby girl Emili.When Bojan and Asya left the institution as young adults they struggled to cope with independent living and little Emili was at risk of following in her parent’s footsteps and being placed in an institution. Thankfully our team were able to help and prevent the family from falling apart.