Postcode Equality Trust

Postcode Equality Trust is a crucial supporter our work in Rwanda, and of our global advocacy efforts to eliminate orphanages for all children.

In Rwanda, their funding enables our team of Social Workers and Child Psychologists to help move children with disabilities out of orphanages and back into their own loving families or alternative family-based care. In doing so, this also helps to break down social stigma surrounding disability, and ensures that no child is left behind in the child protection reform process. Postcode Equality Trust’s support also enables our team to support over 3,000 vulnerable children with tailored interventions, so they can stay with their families and aren’t at risk of being sent to an orphanage. Alongside this, they are contributing to the strengthening of community based family support services, and the building of the local social workforce’s capacity, all with the goal of closing every remaining orphanage in Rwanda.

In terms of our global advocacy work, Postcode Equality Trust funding is enabling our team to influence an historic Declaration on Child Care Reform at the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, in which all 53 Commonwealth nations, representing an estimated 2–3 million children in orphanages, commit to eliminating institutional care for all children by 2040. This would profoundly impact the lives of millions of vulnerable children across the Commonwealth and generate unstoppable momentum towards the elimination of orphanages globally.

Visiting our work in Rwanda in 2018, Sanjay Singh, Senior Programmes Manager at People’s Postcode Lottery said:

“Visiting the Gahanga institution in Kigali was a shocking experience. I vividly remember the high metal gates at the entrance. It didn’t look like a place any child should live. Inside we met babies, children and even some young adults, all with very severe physical or learning difficulties. Conditions were extremely basic. There was a very strong smell of urine and what little equipment there was looked worn-out and dated.

Even putting aside these practical concerns, it was clear these children had none of the love and emotional support they needed and that was hard to stomach. Leaving the orphanage, it would have been easy to have felt overwhelmed by the scale of the task ahead and it’s clearly early days. That’s why it was great to also see how Hope and Homes for Children is recruiting and training specialist foster families to care for the children from the institution.

At the same time it is working to support existing families of children with disabilities to be able to care for their children, and not have to resort to placing them in the orphanage.

The highlight of my trip though was meeting Steve and his family because, if I hadn’t seen it for myself, I don’t think I would have believed it. Steve has cerebral palsy and spent the first five years of his life in an orphanage with no one to care for him. When Steve first joined his foster parents, both his legs were broken and he was incontinent. Thanks to their devotion, his recovery has been extraordinary.

Today, Steve is ten years old and he is a happy, playful confident boy who is clearly very much loved. I was also struck by the strong sense of connection and trust between Steve, his family and the team from Hope and Homes for Children. All the staff I met are clearly very dedicated and full of knowledge and understanding. This isn’t just technical knowledge. They also have the cultural understanding that’s so crucial for projects like this to work.

Overall, my visit to Rwanda showed me that, with Hope and Homes for Children, what’s written on the page is also true on the ground.”