02 April 2019

Building new families: Anna’s story

Your support meant our team in Rwanda was able to give Anna and Amelia the resources they needed to thrive as a family

Providing safe and loving family-based alternatives for children is a fundamental part of the change needed to create a world where no child grows up in institutional care.

When Anna was born, her mother was alone and desperate. She left her new-born baby in a communal toilet and fled. Thankfully, people nearby heard Anna’s cries and rescued her just in time.  Desperately ill, she was taken to the local hospital where she spent time in intensive care, fighting to recover from her terrible start in life.

Amelia, a midwife at the hospital, who helped to care for Anna was moved by her story. As the weeks went by, she fell in love with the tiny baby girl who seemed so determined to survive and overcome the tough hand that fate had dealt her. Amelia wanted to give Anna the chance to grow up as part of a family, in a safe, loving home and not in an orphanage. And so Amelia asked if she could become Anna’s foster Mum.

Our team in Rwanda, working with the local Child Protection authorities, helped enable Amelia to give Anna the family life she needed. We assessed her suitability to care for Anna and gave her extra training to make sure that she was ready to take on this special role. Once Amelia brought Anna home from the hospital, we kept in close touch with them both to make sure that all was well and Anna was safe and happy. Today, Anna has blossomed into a confident, curious little girl who is the centre of attention in her family and her community. She is such a favourite at the local church that another mother even approached Amelia to ask if she would consider letting her foster Anna instead! But Amelia is adamant; she is Anna’s forever mother. With our support, Amelia has now begun formal adoption procedures so that Anna has a loving home and a family of her own, for life.

Our work in 2018: 250,000 children benefitting from alternative care arrangements

Providing safe and loving family-based alternatives for children is a fundamental part of the change needed to create a world where no child grows up in institutional care. That’s why our first priority when we close an institution is to work with families to make it possible for children to return home. In some cases though, this is not feasible or appropriate and so our skilled social work teams ally with the local child protection authorities to find safe and sustainable care alternatives for children. These include fostering and adoption as well as placements in Small Family Homes, all of which enable all children, whatever their needs, to grow up in family environments and not in institutions.

Demonstrating children successfully supported and placed out of institutional care is at the heart of achieving impact at scale, because it provides both the experience and evidence needed for this. During 2018 we successfully placed 750 children directly out of institutions and into families or community-based care and benefitted more than 42,000 children through the prevention services we helped to develop over the course of the year. Where we were able to deliver the broadest impact was through the training of over 9,000 professionals, each of whom will go on to benefit some 50 children, yielding an estimated impact figure of over 400,000.

Want to get involved?

By closing institutions, supporting children into loving, stable families and working with governments to tackle the root causes of family breakdown, we are striving for a day where orphanages have been eliminated for good. There are several ways for you to help: check out our donation options, or fundraise for Hope and Homes for Children.