Day of the African Child: A Call to Leave no Children in Orphanages Behind

Joy was placed in an orphanage when her mother died in child birth. She is now reunited with her brothers and sisters and Aunty.

In 2016 we formed Transform Alliance Africa. Organisations across Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Sudan, South Africa, Uganda and Ghana came together and committed to achieving a vision of an Africa free of institutions where every child grows up in a loving family.

We believe we can realise this vision because in Africa the family has always been at the centre of a child’s development and communities have always wrapped their arms around orphans and vulnerable children.

The majority of children in orphanages have families and we believe in most cases the families given the choice and the right support would like to bring up their children but are led to believe that orphanages are a better choice.

They are not.

According to research 63% of children in orphanages experience abuse.

But this is not just about research or statistics. No matter how “good” the orphanage is nothing can replace the love, security, identity and sense of belonging provided by a family.

Across the 7 countries there are over 130,000 children who are being denied the love of a family.

We don’t compromise. We never leave children in orphanages behind. We believe all children should grow up in families and communities.

In Rwanda our partners Hope and Homes for Children have been working the Government and out of the 10,995 children in institutions there are 5,253 left. We will not stop until Rwanda is free of institutions. In Uganda, Child’s i Foundation is working with the Government and partners to pilot a district free of institutions to show how it can be replicated across the 121 districts in Uganda. In Kenya, Child in Family Focus is working alongside the Government and other stakeholders to develop a de-institutionalisation strategy following Government placing a moratorium on registration of new institutions.  In Tanzania Community for Children Rights is building a community of organisations that are seeking alternatives to institutional care. In Sudan the Government and other stakeholders are implementing Kafala for abandoned children, in South Africa, Give a Child a Family is supporting families to take care of their children and in Ghana, Partnership for Family Strengthening  is working in partnership with communities to develop community-based family preservation.

We believe that we need to work together with orphanages, Governments, donors, African families and civil society organisation across Africa to leave no child in orphanages behind.

So on the Day of the African Child we call upon Member States of the UN General Assembly to focus on the rights of children deprived of parental care, or who are at risk of being so, as the theme of the 2019 UNGA Third Committee resolution on the Rights of the Child.

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