'We want children in families' says Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development
Last week, Child's i Foundation supported the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development to hold a one day workshop with residential care facilities in the Wakiso, Mpigi, Makindye and Tororo areas.
The Re-imagine Alternative Care Workshop aimed to discuss the importance of orphanages placing children back into families.
Speaking during the workshop, Shafiq Butanda, the Principal Probation Officer noted that the government wants to strengthen and preserve families. “We want children in families,” he said. He noted that the government is mobilising resources to review the Children’s Act to include aspects on alternative care and reforms.
Shafiq Butanda, the Principal Probation Officer, Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MoGLSD) speaking during the workshop
Over 50 orphanages attended the workshop and shared their experiences and learnings on the why, the when, and most importantly the how to reunite children in the orphanages with their families or alternative families.
Mary Nakazibwe the Probation Officer Wakiso District noted that “Children develop best with the family where there are primary care givers with undivided attention".
Mary Nakazibwe, Probation Officer Wakiso District, making her presentation during the workshop
One of the participants, Mellisa Kigozi, was adopted at a very young age. “I am always grateful that my parents chose me, I now belong to a family,” she said.
“They told me from the beginning that I was adopted and have provided me with a safe and loving home". Mellisa is now 15 years old and has a bright future ahead of her.
Another one of the participants, Joela, grew up in an orphanage. He left the orphanage as a young adult. “I did not know where to start when I left the orphanage, what to do, where to sleep, I was not prepared for the life outside the orphanage,” he said.
Joel has since started a salon business that has been his source of income. “Every child should grow up in a family rather than an institution,” he said.
The workshop aimed at providing orphanages with a platform for them to discuss how they can repurpose and rebuild their orphanages.
“This is the beginning of shifting mindsets from having orphanages to placing children in these orphanages with families,” noted Aidah Agwang the Advocacy Manager at Child’s i Foundation.
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