It takes a village to raise a child - the role of Community Volunteers
We meet Ramadhan in his element, doing what he does best: interacting with his community members. You can tell Ramadhan takes pride in his work. As he walks around, he frequently gets stopped by people in his community for a quick chat, a thank you and a hello here and there.
Ramadhan is a community volunteer. This means he supports social workers and helps families that need support to stay together within his community. On a normal day, Ramadhan starts off his day at 6am. After his morning ritual, he sets off to visit families. His motivation, he says stems from his own childhood experiences. He grew up in Northern Uganda and had to flee his home due to the war.
“Images of children who had lost their families were painful to see. I saw children on the streets, stranded and with no help. I decided to volunteer to help them, I have been helping children and families since then,” he says.
During our day with Ramadhan, we went with him to check on families within his local community. “In a day I move around the village to see the homes, speak to parents and children so we can make a change in our community,” he says.
As we visited and walked around Ramadhan’s community, he took us to visit Achan’s family. Achan’s son, Ibra, had ran away from home and school for close to a year and a half. Ramadhan was able to build a relationship with Ibra, and eventually was able to get him to return home and encouraged Ibra to go back to school.
Ibra is now back to school and living at home in a safe and loving environment. His mum is happy to have her son back home. “It was after Ramadhan’s intervention that Ibra accepted to come back home and resume school,” says Ibra’s mum
After his day, Rhamadhan goes to his job. He works as a security guard in a local school located within his community. His love for children is evident.
Community volunteers like Ramadhan are the first line of defense in avoiding separation of children from their families. They are outstanding members of their communities and are chosen by government and local leaders to advocate for children to grow up in families. Community volunteers are also trained in child protection and how empower families to prevent separation.
In Tororo there are 184 volunteers who have been trained by the Government and Child’s i Foundation in child protection and how to identify and support families in his community to prevent family breakdown.
Our work is hugely dependent on community volunteers like Ramadhan who advocate for children to grow up in families and not orphanages. Ramadhan is making a true difference in his community.