Monday, 27 August 2007
I spent this afternoon drafting an application to potential grant-making Trust funders for our "Child Education, Development and Reintegration" ("CEDAR") Programme. It is a Programme that has evolved out of our early project work with the children of prisoners, street children and disabled children. Essentially the Programme represents a move away from our (my) early limited and, it has to be said, naive concept of the "children's home" and the inevitable institutionalisation that goes with it. Instead we now endeavour to move children, including disabled children, along a pathway in life. For some children, like the prison children and the street children, this may lead them back to stable family life. For others it may set them on a course that, in the absence of any realistic family support, will allow them to realise their full potential and become self-sufficient adults. This may not be just in terms of academic achievement; CEDAR aims to identify and develop any latent talents that might be there (see previous post "Special Olympics").
Assistance to children on an individual basis is important for us; it mirrors the very personal nature of the charity itself in terms of how we relate to our supporters. However we do look also at how we can help children collectively within CEDAR. A case in point is the circumstances of impoverished families in Butwal in the southwest of the country. In some communities children live in hovels fabricated from plastic sheets, pieces of wood and stones like the one pictured right. Although they don't actually live on the streets all the time, children from such families roam the streets during the day, eschewing education and getting themselves into trouble. We are about to enter a research phase to see what we can do to address this growing problem with a likely solution being contact centres in the parts of Butwal where these communities establish themselves. If these centres can provide some kind of education and stimulation during the day we may coax at least some children into school and nudge them gently onto the CEDAR pathway that will lead them to a future. Otherwise they have no hope.