The Institutional Care Program is an integral part of our Center. Like different parts of the same body, it has its own purpose and cannot be divided from other activities of the Center.
Children who were thrown into a dangerous environment or left without any protection often become victims of that same environment, which can result in premature and/or violent death.
One of the harshest social problems that the country has experienced in the last couple years is unfortunately child abandonment, especially in urban centers. The issue is extremely serious and rampant in Addis Ababa, when compared to other urban areas.
One of many misconceptions about abandoned children is that they are almost always abandoned by their parents/guardians. While that may be true in some cases, more often than not it’s the children who abandon their families. Reasons may vary from insecurity and conflict to mistreatment, abuse, violence or rejection. Cutting ties with their home they are left without a family or a safe place.
The majority of street children are male. Girls are socialized with great emphasis on obeying their family members as African culture has a different set of demands put on women. The result? Female children often endure abusive or exploitative situations at home for longer periods of time without protection.
Void of any care, adult protection or proper guidance, the street children then become most vulnerable to different circumstances. They often end up in street gangs in their search for a substitute family and some sense of security from their peers.
Social exclusion leaves a mark on young hearts & minds
In a hostile, repressive and violent environment, street children who have experienced social exclusion for a long time find a sense of belonging in street groups or gangs. That then becomes a coping strategy to defend themselves from external threat or abuse.
Gender-based violence and exploitation makes female street children more vulnerable to the life on the street. Girls are highly exposed to rape and often forced to divert to commercial sex work when other survival options are limited, especially in comparison to their male counterparts
HIV/AIDS, STI and unwanted pregnancy as a result of both sexual abuse and exploitation are serious issues for street girls that affect every part of their lives.
HIV/AIDS has become a huge factor in child abandonment in the last couple of years.
The phenomenon of children living and working on the streets (known as ‘’streetism’’ in development literature) is very common in Ethiopia.
The magnitude of street children in Ethiopia is high compared to other African countries, or even Asian and South American countries.
Two bed sheet
Two pairs of socks
soap for clothes
soap for body
Our Program is strictly in conformity with the country’s laws which uphold the street children’s rights and are in agreement with The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child , stating that every child has the right to basic survival and educational services.
The Orientation Program is open to all street children and those who are open to the various rehabilitative strategies offered by the Project can join. The beneficiaries are selected directly from the streets, the only condition being that they are willing to make a change in their life and behavior.
Making the necessary contacts in the streets so that the children are invited to join the Orientation Program freely and without coercion, our social workers help the process.
Care program main directions:
- Non formal class
- Formal class
- Medical care
- Family visit
- Reintegration To:
- Follow Up
In addition to food and shelter the children will be offered adequate education with different methodologies targeting their individual needs. Personal hygiene, good manners and housekeeping are modeled for them, making it easier to learn and maintain good habits.
Non Formal Class
Nine-month-long period of non formal class begins when the boys enter the ‘’Come and See ” continuing through the Care period. It’s in that time that our children are offered something similar to a home-school program, enabling them to study different subjects such as mathematics or Amharic and English language. They are then assessed through exams which allow them to continue formal academic classes.
They can also attend a Technical department through the Program. During that period they can watch and/or attempt to make something. They can use this time to see if that is what works for them and in this nine-month-long period they can choose a technical department for their formal technical education
TVET Course benefits
Non-formal and Informal TVET Courses improve the children’s technical capacities in specific fields. They can then join and adapt to the workforce with proper competences and a sense of purpose.
Having a dream takes you places
Younger children that are interested in pursuing their education will be provided with access to good quality formal schooling and necessary educational support .
Those in the technical department will follow two different courses in a three-month-long period to gain practical knowledge that allows them to find a job fast and easy.
After joining a formal class our children are given options to continue their academic development through attending university and getting a degree.
The technical department allows two different courses in the three-month-long period providing them with practical knowledge and a diploma that helps them find a job fast and easy.
- Medical care
The beneficiaries are provided with human and social care and more opportunities in order to increase their living standards and help them focus on their education. These actions combined create an efficient system of rehabilitation.
Includes providing our children with life necessities: clothes, hygiene supplies, food and shelter, a place to sleep. During boarding we teach them basic life skills including how to wash their clothes and clean their room. Food for the children is prepared fresh everyday and they are provided with new clothes and shoes periodically.
Most of the clothes and shoes are bought, some are donated from volunteers that visit our Center.
Follow-up is carried on under Salesians supervision. Our counseling team consists of a psychologist, a group of social workers and our teachers making it efficient and well rounded.
In the beginning, group counseling is performed on the streets in an informal way. The street being their ‘’safe place’’ it is also where the first contact is carried out thus creating an interrelation between the social workers and the street children.
Children are provided with proper guidance and counseling to identify their interests and potentials. Some emotionally disturbed, traumatized or behaviorally challenged street children and their families will need special attention to reinstate their emotional, behavioral and cognitive well being.
Basic medical care
The Center has one nurse employed and a contract with a private medical clinic in case of an emergency or a serious medical issue.
Most injuries however include wounds received during play time and some common viral and bacterial diseases. During Covid-19 pandemic we made vaccination possible in our Center.
Bosco Children’s P.R.P.S.C. (Preventive and Rehabilitative Programs for Street Children) Project is a tangible and efficient answer to the increasing problem of street children in Ethiopia, especially in Addis Ababa in the last 20 years.
The Project aims to contribute to the safety net in favor of children in difficult conditions and to reduce the “streetism”, the very problem faced by the street children.
Human care and social care along with many more opportunities increase the standard of living for our beneficiaries helping them focus on education. The actions combined create an efficient system of rehabilitation and social reintegration for street children of Addis Ababa.
Reintegration program includes:
- Family visits
- Reintegrating to:
After the nine months of the non formal period have passed the children get the opportunity to visit their families. For some of them this is their first visit after two or three years making it an emotional experience for all parties involved.
We get to meet the families and see where the children’s respective homes are. We also introduce ourselves and the program, giving the families some assurance and a chance to repair the relationships. Boys remain in their family for one week and then return to the Center to start the formal rehabilitation, while we stay in contact with their families trying to start the family reintegration process.
The main goal of the Project is to reintegrate the children in their respective families. We encourage reconciliation and mending the broken relationships through family meetings and open dialogue.
Family Reintegration and Financial independence
During their stay in the center, every child has the opportunity to do some work and gain a couple of months of work experience while being able to deposit the money that they earned into a personal Savings Account.
A specific amount of money can be provided by the Program in order to give them a better fresh start in their future and is given when they go back to their families (through the counseling and Follow up part of the program)
The children are also supplied with clothes and other necessities so that their return is financially easier for both the children and their families.
Reintegration in to Society
In cases where reintegration into the family is not possible, the child is accompanied and guided through the rehabilitative strategies by our team.
The children are encouraged to improve their studies through many options to learn and acquire skills needed to fully function in their work field as well as society in general. .
Each child is provided with both theory teaching and practice training in various fields of their individual choice. Providing individual guidance helps make the child’s interest, capabilities and attitude a source of growth so that they are confident and comfortable in society.
Entering the workforce can be stressful. Making sure that the transition runs smoothly, we make sure that each child is gradually gaining their work experience.
With cooperative training TVET Program also offers help with the initial approach to the workforce (various experiences help gain new perspective and add value to society while successfully integrating youth into Labor Market)
Poverty is still the root cause of children turning to street life. Monthly financial support due to having a sponsored child also helps families deal with economic hardships as there is one child less to provide for. With such assistance the number of children involved in street life decreases drastically making it easier to prevent such cases. Targeted street children are provided with financial support through our Program, enabling them to continue their formal school education or skills training.
They are assisted through:
- Provision of monthly financial support replaces the child’s economic input to the family making it possible to continue the child’s educational attendance
- Medical care and personal hygiene services
- Guidance and counseling services for children and their families
- Emotional support and close follow-ups
- Educational services
- Academic education or skill development opportunities
With reintegration into the family or society starting to take place, the Follow-up stage and sponsorships start as well.
Program sponsorships are here to:
- Follow and sponsor the children that continue academic life in their families or in society (University)
- Sponsor the Boys in TVET program
For the first time in their life they are responsible for themselves, making this an important and demanding step in the process. Sometimes feeling discouraged, some of them can develop symptoms of depression or try to isolate.
Follow-up is there to help them to prevail in this crisis. In addition to frequent calls and checking to see how they are, we visit those who are in Addis Ababa (or nearby) in person.
Children that show interest and capabilities to continue academic education during their stay in our Center are sponsored every month with an amount of 500 Birr. They receive this support until they finish and get their university diploma. During this period they are also supervised by social workers and have personal counseling available.
All children that finish the TVET program will be supported with 7000 Birr. Transferred to personal accounts of each child the money serves to pay for basic needs, such as an apartment. In the first stages 3000 Birr will be provided and if they are reintegrated into society, 500 Birr will be provided monthly for the next eight months.
Boys that are reintegrated into their families are expected to use the skills acquired and find a self-sustaining job or to help their families with the first payment.