Raha kids is a rehabilitation and reintegration program for street children and OVCs (a program of the coptic Orthodox Church).
Raha Kids is working hard to restore the physical, emotional and spiritual health of these children living on the streets who has been orphaned, abandoned, neglected, abused or otherwise exploited. We deal with each child according to his own needs and circumstances, and devise a personal solution that can work for each child. RAHA endeavors to nurture in each child an environment of love, security, productivity, social maturity and above all an assurance that God loves them.
Many children we receive at the daytime drop-in center are very willing and ready to change. But since they still spend their nights on the streets, they are often discouraged by the horror and abuse they face there. As such, we believe that if RAHA Kids is to succeed in the rehabilitation and reintegration of street children, a triple-faceted approach is critical:
- RAHA Kids : For Rehabilitation, food, hygiene, behavioral changes, non-formal education, counseling, medical care and recreation.
- RAHA Kids Rescue Center: Where select children will spend the night after their day at the drop-in center until a permanent solution is found, to optimize the rehabilitation process.
- RAHA Children’s Home: It serves as a long-term home for children, and caters to their special needs. Children lives here until they are old enough, mature enough, and equipped enough to provide and support themselves and even start their own family.
Raha kids is a rehabilitation, educational and reintegration center. It was started in January 11th 2002. The project was started due to the rising number of orphaned and vulnerable children at the time. The name “RAHA” is a Swahili word meaning enjoyment, comfort and happiness. It is also serves as an acronym that summarizes the work that Raha was founded to accomplish. This work is to:
R – Rescue and rehabilitate
A – And
H – Helping
A – Abandoned kids.
It was started first as a day-time drop in center where children would come during the day. They would come to Raha to get shower, get a change of clean clothes, food, life skills training and coaching. In the evening they would then go back home. As time flew by there was need to offer the rising number of street and street related children more protection. Raha then began to offer the children accommodation, social support and later on reintegrating them back to their families. There was also need to involve the family in the rehabilitation of the children and because of this we started involving the families in group decision making therapy (GDMT). This way we would deal with the problem in a holistic manner.
We work with orphaned, vulnerable children (OVCs), street and street related children/families. The children are rescued from the streets or their respective unsafe environment and then brought to Raha with the help of the area children officers and chief. When they come to Raha they are given a second chance in life. They receive psychosocial and academic support, equipped with life skills from the most basic to the functional ones and most importantly they under the re-socialization process. This helps them to regain their lost social lives.
During their stay at Raha we conduct home tracing in order to locate their homes. When the home is found, the psychosocial team finds out what were the push factors that made the child end up in the streets. The family is then involved in group decision making therapy. The outcome of this determines if the family is ready to receive the child back home during reintegration. At the end of the program we find the children a school near their family so that they can study as they go home. Re-uniting the children is the last step of our program after which we make follow ups with the family to ensure the child is successfully reintegrated.
What we want to achieve
Reintegrate boys who have been holistically developed back to the society.
Reduce dependency among street families by empowering the parents through vocational training.
Empower boys through functional and life skills making them fit to coexist in the society.
Promote a family support system among the street families through group Family Group Decision Making Therapy.
Restore the children’s human dignity by providing them with human basic needs according to United Nation Convention on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.
Promote and enhance parenting skills among the street families.
Educate street families on sustainable parenthood.
Societal problems that we want to address
Child headed families due parent’s separation and death
Child labor and child abuse
Insecurity in the streets due to the rising number of street children/youths.
Early sexual encounter among adolescents and youth leading to HIV infections.
Impact of the project
The lives of many children have been transformed through the program.
More than 30 children are reunited with their families every year.
Through our outreach program we have been able to trace the homes of the children.
Rebuilding the inner strength and exploiting the full potential of the children through the program.
Through the project we have been able to transform the lives of many street families. This has been successful as a result of financial training, parental skills awareness and vocational skills.
What is new about Raha Kids
Over the years we have shifted our focus from the child-based care to family-based care system. We not only work to rehabilitate the child but also to better the home environment and break the poverty cycle. This is achieved by empowering the parents through, entrepreneurship training, family decision making therapy and most recently referrals to adult rehabilitation centers.
Important aim of Raha kids
To rescue, rehabilitate and successfully reunite vulnerable children with their families.
What is special about Raha kids
We offer the children a holistic approach in terms of how we deal with the issues affecting street children and street families. While most organizations have programs that only focus on children, we also involve their families. This is made possible through interventions such as group family decision making therapy (GFDMT), entrepreneurship training, and parental classes and creating awareness on sustainable parenthood. This helps to reduce the dependency on such organizations.
Can Raha Kids become a model for other organization?
We would like other organizations to emulate the family-based care system that provides a holistic approach to the issues affecting street families. This system ensures that we understand both the push and pull factors that lead to the rising number of street and street-related families. If all organizations can practice this model then we will realize a decline in the number of street families.
Does Raha Kids have any other donors/partners?
In order to achieve the milestones that we have had in the past years, we have had to partner with other organizations such as:
GRT- this is an Italian agency that works with street and vulnerable children. Majorly their work is to rescue and refer needy and vulnerable children to like-minded organizations. With their help we have been able to send 4 of our boys to vocational schools. We also received new admissions through this organization.
LEA TOTO- this is a community based program that deals with children who are HIV positive and extends care to them. We have worked with this organization in ensuring the sibling of one of our boys is well taken care of. His sister is HIV +
MWANGAZA TRUST- this organization has rehabilitation program that goes for 6months after which they send the boys to vocational schools. This year we sent a boy to the center and he graduated in June this year a totally transformed boy. This month he is going to undertake a course in tailor and dress making. In July we are sending 6 more boys to the center.
MUKURU PROMOTION CENTER- this center provides vocational training in the areas of carpentry, plumbing and masonry. We have sent 4 boys to this center and they successfully completed the program. Right now they are all working in various companies at different levels. We hope to send some more in January 2019.
TANDAZA TRUST FOUNDATION- this organization has an adult rehabilitation program for women. Some of the parents of our children have been referred to this organization and they graduated from the program having been totally transformed. These parents were able to take their children back home.
What are the roles of the administrator?
The administrator plays the following roles:
Ensures all procurement is done on schedule
Supervision of stuff
Coordinating daily programs at the center
Approving initiatives within the center
Networking with other like-minded organizations
Planning and organizing the organizations calendar
Raha kids has 19 committed staff members who have dedicated their lives to serve and impact the lives of the children. They are as follows:
Director- oversees the general operations of the center.
Administrator- coordinates the daily programs at the center.
Social worker- ensures the general well-being of the children and staff.
Psychosocial worker- works with the children through their rehabilitation by ensuring they are socially and psychologically stable.
Child therapist- ensures the younger children are psychologically stable through therapy
Teachers- ensure the children develop intellectually and academic work by tutoring them.
House parents- stay with the children at the dorms and provide them with parental care.
Housekeepers- ensure that the children have an inhabitable environment. Making sure the compound is clean and meals are prepared on time.
RAHA KIDS exit plan:
An exit plan is a systematic and detailed plan describing how a child will eventually leave the care of a CCI. A child’s exit strategy plan states the short term and long term activities to be undertaken throughout the stay in the CCI. The strategy and the plan ensures that the child exists the CCI in the shortest time possible.
At RAHA KIDS we believe that the exit of any beneficiary begins right away from the time of admission, the Implementation of the strategy is the process in which a child transits from the cci in an explained, planned and sensitive manner. The management of RAHA KIDS is responsible for the preparation, transitional arrangements and after care follow-up of each child.
The strategy has a clear timelines and deadlines and it clearly identifies the person who is responsible for the implementation and follow up. In this case at RAHA we have clear roles given to psychosocial department which ensures the plan is well undertaken.
Depending on the age, maturity and understanding of each child, we clearly inform our beneficiaries of the process and this is done during the admission stage, it is important for them to be aware of the process such that the end plan of the project is clearly achieved.
Different forms of exist strategies
Our strategy is based clearly on the guidelines for alternative care of children and the children act which states that the family is recognized as being a fundamental and key in the process of exit. We believe that efforts should primarily be directed at the enabling the child to remain in or return to the care of his or her parents or when appropriate other family members. We have strengthened the capacity of reintegration of children into their families and communities. We also believe that where the child cannot be with the biological parents and other relatives, we recommend that alternative family based care arrangement be sort especially an alternative that will offer the child a permanent family solution.
This is the process where efforts primarily focus on returning the child back to their biological parents or relatives. Depending on the child’s circumstances the process entails
Tracing the child’s family and relatives if the whereabouts are unknown, this includes cases of abandoned children, lost children or in some instances double orphans.
Family mediation. This is a situation where the psychosocial team engages the family members in a process that highlights the importance of family members living with their child.
Undertaking social and economic assessment to determine causes that may have led to separation from family and identifying ways of addressing the causes.
For reintegration to be successful the staff conducts child assessment that are based on a thorough understanding of the developmental needs of the children and the care givers responds appropriately to the identified needs so that reintegration can be a success.
We also prepare the family adequately by conducting family assessment which helps us to ascertain the ability of parents or caregivers to ensure the child’s developmental needs are responded to appropriately.
Alternative family based care arrangements
This is a short term or long term replacement of a child into a family environment with one consistent parent or care giver where the family can nature the child to be part of the community.
At RAHA we provide in different situations when the child cannot be with both parents due to various reasons. They include:
This is the temporally placement of a child with a person’s who’s not a child’s parent, relative or guardian who is willing to take the care and maintenance of the child.
At RAHA we have worked with different families and the church to ensure that the children get to have the feeling of a family. It is important to note that they have grown to be responsible due to the family engagement.
A guardian is a person appointed by the will or deed of the parent of the child or by a court order to assume the parental responsivity for a child upon the death of the parent.
Basing on the nature of the children we have at RAHA we haven’t heard the arrangement yet but we have considered the option due to the different cases we experience at our center.
This is considered to be permanent and long term family based care arrangement in which a child is given an opportunity to acquire new parents who will be his or her life time parents.
This is an idea that we are looking forward to do depending with the cases we might encounter in future.
Community based care arrangements
This is a supervised living independent arrangement where children stay within the community in one homestead supervised regularly by an adult in the community. This forms of arrangements helps the younger children to learn from the older children.
It has been one of our highest point since the children have bonded together and feel a sense of identity and it has given them a chance to live in a normal community environment and most of them have enhanced their skills and interactions.
Discharge arrangements at RAHA KIDS
To ensure that very child’s exit plan is handled in a professional humane and dignified manner, we have established an exit review committee which meets to discuss on the several cases we encounter. The membership include the:
The caregivers is the house mothers and house fathers.
The role of the committee is to monitor the over role performance of the organization and implementation of the exit strategy under our care.
It also keeps truck on the number of successful cases and those that have been concluded on time
They also ensure that the best choice of exit strategy for each individual child has been made.
They also ensure that all arrangement for the placement have been fully completed and that the new care arrangement is suitable and protective of the child
They also review all follow up reports of all exited children from the center after they exist the cci and determine whether the child is progressing well in the new care arrangement.
We have developed programmes for the after care services for all the children who have left the institution. It is to ensure that the child is adjusting well to the new placement arrangement and that their welfare is well taken care of. This is done through the follow up process where we visit the family and check the progress of each child who is reintegrated to the family.