Rwanda is looking for families that may adopt more than 1000 children stranded in orphanages – the country had set December 2015 to shutdown all orphanages.
Four years ago , government started a campaign to close all orphanages across the country. Since then,3726 children have been adopted leading to closure of 23 orphanages.
However, 1271 children including orphans and abandoned children are still waiting for the community to decide their fate, despite a deadline that was set; to have no orphanage in Rwanda by December 2015.
“We keep sensitizing Rwandan community to take up these children. Deadline that was set earlier did not work; community ownership of the program is at play,” Pamela Mudakikwa Public Relations Officer at Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion (Migeprof) told KT Press.
In 2016, the sensitisation campaign to have no children in orphanages was taken to church representatives.
Mudakikwa said, their objective was to have church leaders embracing the program and encouraging followers to come on board.
Bishop Charles Rwandamura, the president of New United Pentecostal Churches Forum told KT Press that he managed to foster 8 children that have graduated from University . He started this initiative before the policy to close orphanages was launched.
“The church will begin implementing this campaign in February to encourage Christians to adopt orphans, nurture and provide them with education,” said Rwandamura.
The Ministry of Gender and Family promotion has also adopted other mechanisms that may prevent children from escaping to streets, and then ending up into orphanages.
“We have a-7 member committee at cell level, in charge of sorting family problems,” said Mudakikwa.
The cell executive secretary, a member of youth and women committee at cell level, a member of civil society and churches respectively and a honest person among the community make up this committee.
On a volunteer basis, the seven have to identify existing problems in a family, from child abuse to school dropout, and from malnutrition to parents,’ conflict to mention but a few.
In a new campaign that targets the general public, Migeprof is gathering parents who meet with stake holders in child rights to tackle together problems that expose children.
The meetings at local level will always focus on particular challenges of each and every region.
In Rubavu district, parents will tomorrow discuss the issue of women hawkers that leave their children at Rubavu boarder and cross into Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to sell food commodities.
“We are looking for an option to establish an Early Childhood Development Center (EDC) where those parents would be leaving children, instead of just abandoning them on streets, which is not safe,” said Mudakikwa.