Reintegration

There is a general recognition that institutional care is the least favourable option for bringing up children and comes about when all other options, such as care within the nuclear or extended family, are not available. Mother of Peace Community Zimbabwe was established in 1994 at a time of crisis in the country due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and economic meltdown. It took in and cared for babies and children who had no other home. However, since 2004, in line with the Government of Zimbabwe’s National Action Plan for orphaned and vulnerable children, MOPC has sought to reintegrate as many children as possible with their wider families.
One of the family huts

Since 2005, the focus has been on reintegrating as many children as possible. In partnership with the Department for Social Welfare in Mutoko, members of extended families have been traced and found suitable and willing to take on the care of that child and to offer them the opportunity to grow up within a family and community.

The challenges of reintegration

The process of tracing relatives can be lengthy and time-consuming, relying on frequently incomplete details of the child’s origins. A number of children at MOPC were abandoned and thus nothing or very little is known of their families. Most of these abandoned children do not have birth certificates. Once families have been traced, they need to be assessed for both willingness and suitability. A major impediment facing many families who would be willing to take in a child is their own poverty.

Support for families

Where the family needs it, Mother of Peace Community continues to provide for the child’s needs after reintegration, in the form of such things as school fees and groceries.

Additional shelter

St Joseph the Worker homes.

Some families lack adequate shelter for themselves and this has been a major impediment to their ability to accommodate another child. Mother of Peace Community UK has supported the Reintegration Programme and since 2006 has provided funds for projects to provide additional shelter and facilities. This has ranged from simply extending an existing cottage to building a new three-bedroom cottage plus a kitchen hut and blair toilet.

Additional shelter and support for over 18 year old leavers still in education

Under Zimbabwean legislation, all children have to leave institutional care when they reach 18 years. Leaving home is a difficult time for all children, but it is recognised that it is particularly traumatic for care-leavers. A lot of time and effort is invested by MOPC in preparing their children for moving on to a life beyond Mother of Peace Community. However, some are still in full-time education when they reach 18 and need to live close by to finish at school or college. In response to this need, St Joseph’s church in Leicester raised funds for two small houses to be built outside the community where 18-year-old leavers can live until they finish their education. They are called St Joseph the Worker homes. MOPC continues to provide them with some food but they are otherwise learning to be self-sufficient.

If you are interested in supporting reintegration projects, please contact us.

 

MOPC UK needs to raise at least £15,000 every year to maintain its current level of financial support for Mother of Peace Community Zimbabwe.


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