Friday, 16 June 2017

Our children will always come first

 Settled with family: Zawadi, Jane and Rose
 Mama Sue's mission to rebuild families is charting new territory in childcare in Kenya.
Over the last year and a half, we have successful repatriated more than 40 children, some of whom had been in our care for several years, to a parent or blood relative..
In most cases, this has been successful.  But in some cases children have returned to Happy House. 
With our careful monitoring, and by giving each child a voice, means when it hasn't worked out children have returned, seamlessly and without emotional stress, into our family.
Catching up with Hassan and Maria
They have settled in as if they'd never been away.
Rukia and Said
For instance, Katana has come home because he was struggling to live in the community with an elder sister and yet his older brother Fikiri is fine with his family and has stayed.
Rukia and Said, living with a grandma and auntie,  have also returned because, as the months went over,  they were finding it difficult to adjust.
Pendo, Lily and Samson have returned to our roost without so much as batting an eyelid as their mum has lost her job and wasn't managing she wanted to.
"Some children went on extended home visits and have stayed, others, for a variety of reasons, are back home," said Mama Sue. 
"We can never say a child has gone permanently because situations here can change in the blink of an eye," said Mama Sue.
"The family carer might not be able to find work, or fall ill, or the child might become unsettled.
"Everything we do puts the child first.
" Each one knows that once they are a Happy House kid they are always a Happy House kid, and because we have empowered them to speak out they are not afraid to ask to come home to us if they feel the need to and a relative feels able to admit if they are not managing.
"Nothing is ever treated as failure. We have built relationships based on honesty and positivity  
"We work so hard to keep up with families of every child who is now living back with relatives and for the majority it is working and we are delighted this is so.
"They are growing up, as they should, with relatives in the their own communities while we support their education and medical needs for as long as we need to. 
"Gradually we are encouraging their carers to take more responsibility with the eventual aim of their being able to provide for all the needs of their youngsters.
"This is not a pipe dream, it is a slowly emerging reality.
"With our encouragement a parent or relative will work towards providing for their child or children.
"We are there to be a safety net if it is needed."
"None of this would be possible without your support and your sponsorship. Together we are changing young lives for the better here at Happy House and in the wider community."We constantly need more sponsors, more funds, it's a huge undertaking."
Over the next few weeks sponsors will receive an update on their sponsor child.
Mama said she and our enthusiastic young social worker, Uncle Ronald,  were working so hard to keep in contact with all the children and relatives now living together in their local communities.
She, Papa and Uncle Ronnie make visits to home and schools of the kids now living with relatives to see and hear for themselves how they are going on.
In our video, made at the start of the week when our kids were embarking on mid-term exams,  Mama Sue talks more about her work with families.
To make a donation to support Happy House work with children living with us or supported by us with families in the community please go to: