Alternative Child Care
Following the National Integrated Child Right Policy (2010) and the National Child Care Reform (2012), SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda remains one of the few organizations in Rwanda that provides care and support to children who have lost or who are at risk of losing parental care.
Children who have no living parent and extended family are introduced to a SOS family environment were they grow up with their siblings and are taken care of by a devoted SOS Mother who provides emotional, psychological and nutritional needs allowing the children to grow up with proper care, education until the child transition into adulthood and is financially and emotionally independent. Children and their SOS parent built emotional ties that last a lifetime. This form of alternative care has positively impacted lives of more than three thousand children from 1979 up to now.
Today, children and their caregivers are either living in the SOS Children’s Village or their surrounding communities. The youth under SOS Children’s Village family care live in independent living arrangements in the community.
Through a partnership agreement with the National Rehabilitation Service and the National Commission for Children (NCC), SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda provides short and medium care to abandoned children in their villages and acts as a transit home while family tracing is taking place.
Once the family is traced, SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda transition abandoned children safely into their biological families, extended families or foster families while helping the caregivers successfully transition into child care. Even though very few children may be kept in long term care, this is anticipated to be the best solution for some children who do not even have extended relatives.
Through an established care plan, vulnerable families and caregivers are supported with options to take up income generating activities to addresses poverty, support in school fees to avoid school drop outs and support with health insurance.
In Kayonza district, SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda is mobilizing communities to care for orphans and children in foster families and communities where the children experience normal family life, learn and grow in their own culture and tradition. As of today, 37 families caring for 50 children have been empowered to develop and implement caring strategies derived from and owned by the communities themselves through support from the Danish Civil Society in Development.
SOS children’s Villages Rwanda run four Children’s Villages in Kigali (1979), Nyamagabe (Gikongoro) (1992), Gicumbi (Byumba) (1997) and Kayonza (2011).
As of today, SOS Children’s Villages cares for 273 children and 337 youths in and around the four locations.
The Alternative Care program is founded on an internationally agreed framework of the UN Guidelines that since 2009 has sparked a global movement changing the conditions for children growing up outside of their family of origin.