Nine-year old Rugiatu was staying in a house with her mother and other adults when her mother disappeared, abandoning her daughter to the streets of Bo. “I came home one evening to find out that my mother was not home," she told CRC case managers. "I went to see in our neighbor’s house, thinking she would come the next day. But since then, I have not seen her.” Rugiatu isn't sure of her mother's name, and has no idea where her mother may have gone.
After her mother's disappearance, Rugiatu squatted in various houses, and did odd jobs for money or food. A visitor from London learned about Rugiatu's situation and was moved to help her. The kind woman enrolled the child in school, provided food for her, and allowed her to occasionally stay at her home.
When the woman planned to return to London, she asked a neighbor named Lucia to care for Rugiatu. Lucia heard about the Child Reintegration Centre and contacted them for help. With the oversight of the Ministry of Social Welfare, the CRC enrolled Rugiatu in Tier 2 support and Lucia has happily agreed to become her caregiver.
The Child Reintegration Centre contacted Momodu and Momoh's Aunt Betty, with whom they had hope to live when they first came to Bo (see earlier story.) The CRC offered to enroll the family in care, so that she can bring the boys into her home. With the CRC's support. Auntie Betty happily agreed to take in her nephews, and Momodu and Momoh were reintegrated to live with her and their other two brothers.
CRC Director Olivia Fonnie, along with CRC staff David Musa and Mabel Mustapha, brought the boys to their new home, equipped with a brand new mattress and duffles, plus backpacks and school supplies so they can go to their new school, SLC Primary-Dambala Road.
CRC case managers Emmanuel and Abibatu visited the boys at school to see how they are settling into their new classroom. Momodu and Momoh are happy to back at school. They proudly shared their writing workbooks with Emmanuel and Abibatu.
In the fall of 2019, leaders of Christian organizations gathered in New York during the United Nations General Assembly to discuss a collaborative effort to encourage the global church's support for placing vulnerable children in safe, loving families. Last week, the group met again to sign a Global Pledge to support all children thriving in safe and loving families. Melody Curtiss and Laura Horvath represented HCW to sign the pledge. The pledge will soon become available for all supporters to sign at globalchurch.org.
The Pledge: We believe God designed families as the best environment for children and young people to receive the love, belonging, and protection they need in order to flourish. Therefore, on behalf of vulnerable children around the world, we commit to support efforts which strengthen families, invest in family-based solutions, and combat the root causes of their vulnerability.
See pictures of the signing ceremony below.
The United Nations has formally adopted The Resolution on the Rights of the Child committing the 193 member nations to gradually shift support away from institutionalization of orphans and abandoned children, to focus on reintegrating children to families. The resolution includes a commitment to ensure that children leaving institutional care receive adequate support for their transition to family-based care. The Child Reintegration Centre was an early adapter of family reintegration , ending the residential program in 2018 to focus entirely on reintegration and family-based care. Helping Children Worldwide is one of 250 organizations supporting the UN's resolution.