2023: a year of transformation for children and families

Nepali mother Lata* hugs her 8 year old son Sunil* in front of their red earth wall, after he returns from years in an orphanage

After two long years inside an orphanage, Sunil* is now reunited with his family. Photo: Kishor Sharma/Hope and Homes for Children

Together with supporters, families and young people, we’re showing a better world is possible. Read our round up of the last 12 months.

Closing orphanages, transforming care

Over the past twelve months, we and our partners have celebrated the closure of seven orphanages

In Romania, the whole of Ilfov Country is now institution free thanks to our work in partnership with the child protection department.

Simona, Head of Child Protection in Iasi, Romania

"Hope and Homes for Children brought change and a new perspective – trust, devotion and above all, that quality that all social workers should have but that cannot be learned in school – humanity."

Trust, devotion and humanity: A new partnership, a new perspective

In Nepal, as the result of supporting and equipping our partners to train, sensitise and lobby local municipalities over the last two years, those authorities have now closed two children’s homes in Kathmandu Valley.  More than 500 children have been supported to escape the clutches of institutions in the year so far.  Our persistent advocacy has helped the government in Bulgaria commit to close the last remaining four children’s institutions – and what’s more, they’ve asked our Bulgarian team to lead on providing technical and practical support during this process.

Supporting families in crisis

Due to our work supporting families in crisis, more than 9,000 children across ten countries who might otherwise have been separated from loving families and placed in abusive, neglectful institutions, are now safe. In support of this, the first foster care pilot is now underway in Nepal to further strengthen family care alternatives. And in South Africa, we’re training young women to open their own businesses and become economically independent, as part of our inspirational ‘active family support’ model.

Our team in Ukraine continue to display incredible fortitude – helping particularly vulnerable children and families deal with trauma, and keeping families together. We’re providing counselling, therapy and material support, as well as finding new homes and foster families for children with nowhere else to go.

Occupied for 36 days: One Ukrainian family's story

After unimaginable loss and destruction, our Ivankiv Mobile team of one social worker, two psychologists and one doctor supported Mariia* and her granddaughters to stay safe, and together.

Occupied for 36 days: one family’s story of loss, destruction and hope

Working alongside governments and the EU to ensure no child is left behind

Our work in India has received a significant seal of approval from USAID, who have committed to funding us and our partners, as we support state government efforts to transform care provision, especially in inclusion for children with disabilities.  In Rwanda, our team continue to pioneer care reform for children with disabilities. We recently secured long term funding from the EU to ‘transform disability-inclusive child protection and care for vulnerable and marginalised children and youth’.    

Winning hearts and minds, alongside young people from care

In September, we co-organised the Asia Biannual Conference for Care Reform in Kathmandu. With over 230 in person participants and around 100 online participants attending from across the region and globally, this was a hugely successful way to engage policy makers and civil society in the fight to transform child care.  We were delighted that care-experienced young people played a central in shaping the conference, and that we could support by providing a platform for their voices to be heard as they called for change.

"For two days I cried remembering my home"

Young care experienced people are raising their voices and taking on the fight – we must listen

The rescue: how we’re supporting 28 children rescued from an abusive orphanage

Impact on the biggest stage

Systems reform is the most sustainable way to have large scale impact. In 2023, as a result of our direct contribution

  • the South African government committed to having a National Deinstitutionalisation Policy in place by the end of the year. Together with the South African Policy and Development Nexus, we’ve helped develop and consult on the drafts. 
  • The Nepalese government has included ‘deinstitutionalisation’ in their Five Year Periodic [Development] Plan for the first time ever. 
  • In Moldova, we have helped review, and make recommendations for, the regulatory framework for alternative care services.

What’s next?

In 2024 we want to see even more landmark moments where governments, law and policy makers, and social workers show that they believe family based care is best for all children.  So we’ll continue to expand our reach – we’ve recently partnered with a local organisation in Kenya to provide technical support to a pilot project demonstrating that change orphanage to family care is possible in Nakuru Country.  

None of this would have been possible without the generous support of people like you – who share our belief that every child deserves the love and belonging of a safe, supported family.

Thank you!