"We are family," Elizabeth's aunt says
An older child living in an orphanage once told us “it is better for us to go back when we are very young, so that we are not detached from our different cultures, relatives and actual families.”
This is the biggest challenge that most young adults face after leaving orphanages - and we are working hard with our partner Smile Africa Ministries in Tororo to ensure each child in their care is placed in a safe and loving family as soon as possible.
One of these children is Elizabeth. Elizabeth went to live in Smile Africa Ministries orphanage at a very young age, but her story has changed forever since going back home to live with her family.
Ongoing mental health issues meant that Elizabeth’s mother was unable to take care of her. Struggling to care for a newborn baby, Elizabeth’s aunt decided to place her in a nearby orphanage.
After a year of living in the orphanage, Elizabeth was still unable to stand and was behind in all of her developmental milestones.
We worked together with the orphanage, the local community and the government to search for Elizabeth’s extended family. After sometime and to all of our joy, Elizabeth’s great aunt Jennifer stepped forward and agreed to raise Elizabeth and become a family.
With the help of our social workers, Jennifer started spending more time with Elizabeth in the orphanage. After a couple of bonding sessions, Elizabeth and Jennifer's relationship grew and she was ready to go live in her new family.
Elizabeth has been home for one year now. She is flourishing into a happy child. “We are a family and Elizabeth is my daughter,” Jennifer says.
At two and a half years old now, Elizabeth walks, eats and plays with the kids from the neighbourhood.
“When she came back from the orphanage, she did not know anything,” Jennifer says, “she has now become very bright. I know she has a bright future ahead of her.”