Turning dreams into reality: LUSUBILO Reintegration project BRINGING CHILDREN BACK TO THEIR COMMUNITIES.

In a heartwarming collaboration between Lusubilo Community Care and CRS, the Reintegration Project being implemented has a goal of gradually taking back institutionalized children to their homes. From the 15th to the 18th of August, 2023, the Reintegration Team embarked on household assessments in Chatoloma – Kasungu district, Katete, Hesheni, Chilida and Engucwini in Mzimba district with objectives aimed at understanding the home environment, dropping off children for holiday reunions, and gauging family perception. Their efforts bore fruit in ways beyond measure.

The project supports the reintegration of the institutionalized children whose relatives are ready to take back and those who are above 18years old. This follows the government’s policy on institutionalization which recommends that children raised in orphanage should at some point be reintegrated back to their families and communities. The home assessments were successful in the sense that all the objectives set were met and that different interventions required for the household families were identified. These interventions would help in preparing and qualifying the households that are suitable for taking care of the children currently under institutionalization.

As one way of reintegrating the children, Lusubilo dropped off children to their homes during the school holidays. The system of dropping off children at their houses for holiday has proven to be vital in a way that it helped observe how family members and children themselves are living together.

Relatives, officers from Lusubilo and the government lined up for a picture after dropping the child at the village for the school holiday

Through the assessment it has been observed that all the households where children had been dropped for holidays were excited having them which makes it easier for the reintegration process. The guardians were happy to spend the holiday with the children as that would strengthen the bond between them. The children appreciated the opportunity of being able to go associate and familiarize with the relatives and the community at large. All the families that were visited would like to raise and live with the children but the only hindrance is on the vulnerability of the household. Therefore, it is needed for the guardians and households to be capacitated or be economically empowered to ensure that they become self-reliant and capable to care for themselves and the reintegrated children.

This household assessment exercise also assessed one of the reintegrated children, Boniface Zulanga, who once lived in the Lusubilo orphanage and later started living with his uncle in 2021. During his stay in the orphanage, he would go for holidays to his uncle. Currently at his uncle’s home, he is receiving educational support from Lusubilo Community Care. So, basing on the assessment that was conducted, the household is capable of caring for the child and Boniface is now officially reintegrated into the family as well as the community. Further support will be provided to him while living with his uncle. The reintegrated child wrote his MSCE and is currently being taught welding at his uncle’s Welding shop.

Boniface Zulanga (third from left) is all smiles with his relatives as they line up with Linly Msomba reintegration officer for Lusubilo

The activity was a success and the interaction with the families was inspirational as guardians were free and willing in expressing their viewpoint on the children as well as the reintegration project.

Reported by Lusubilo Communications Office

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