We readily accept that for the child, it is often better for them to remain with family members, in their own community, but we also realise that this is not always possible, for a whole variety of reasons. An alternative, is residential care. This, from the young person's point of view, might be described as beiong looked after away from home by people who are not their parents.
Some residential care is run by groups of caring adults who are committed to children and provide a family environment where there is unconditional acceptance and support on an individual basis. It could be argued that this kind of care is in the best interests of children where there are no alternatives: for example, those who are either in abusive or destructive family environments or cannot settle with a small foster family.
Some residential institutions, especially 'orphanages' in developing countries, admit a wide range of children whose parents feel that they cannot provide for them. Parents need to know that financial provision is not as important as the emotional loving relationship they can offer the child, that cannot so readily be given in an institution. In some societies it may be culturally unacceptable for single parents (for whatever reason) to look after children.
Grace Christian School, Siyabuswa, South Africa cares for around 50 orphaned children in their school's hostel, some of whom are HIV+. Many of the children were being cared for previously by aunts and grandmothers who are now either ill themselves or have other children to look after as well. It is for reasons like these that the children come to live at Grace Christian School's hostel, run by Hope for Africa Missions (HFAM).
HFAM pioneered a very successful AIDS-prevention education programme and a home-care programme for sufferers from AIDS for the local community.
Word of Hope Children's Home, to the east of Burmese city of Yangon, cares for about 45 children. Their home is a mordern building situated in a region of fields and poor houses.
Many of the children are from troubled backgrounds in Myanmar's provinces. Some are 'complete' orphans, having lost both Mum and Dad. Others are from violent homes or where there has been an irrevocable family breakdown.
Both Grace Christian School and Word of Hope provide the best possible care, with limited resources, in a Christian environment. The children receive medical care, education to the completion of secondary school and then vocational training opportunities are made available to them. Some have gone into teaching, mechanical or electrical engineering (including girls), nursing and Christian ministry.
Whilst Grace Christian School and Word of Hope provide residential care, children in other ChildAid programmes who have lost either one parent or are being cared for by members of their family receive support in the community by our ministry partners. We have for example, a number of children in our JKPS scheme in north-east India, where a parent has died or abandoned the family.
Casa del Alfarero, Guatemala City: Orphaned children in the Guatemala City dump area are usually taken in by relatives who are struggling to provide for their own children. In an act of love, families grow from three to six children overnight when tragedies occur. The main reason why children lose their parents is due to the violence nightime attacks prevalent in the area.
Casa del Alfarero (Potter's House) support these brave families who in addition to their own condition of poverty are willing to take the children as their own. Additional groceries and help with schooling and healthcare are just some of the ways help is brought.