Care Foundation (CAFO) is a District based Organisation established in October 2018 in response to the alarming number of vulnerable children who were identified at Rumphi Boma collecting bottles, selling plastic bags, prostituting and begging around Boma Point. The aim of its establishment is to create opportunities for such and other disadvantaged children ensuring they have access to basic needs through formal and informal learning, engagement, empowerment and system strengthening while contributing towards the reduction of any form of child abuse while promoting access to quality education
Care Foundation (CAFO) is a local Non Profit making Organisation established in October 2018 in response to the alarming number of vulnerable children who were identified in the streets and beaches around Boma Point and along the lakeshore areas. The aim of its establishment is to empower street orphaned and other vulnerable children and creating opportunity for such children to have access to basic education, health and nutritional needs while promoting the rights of all children ensuring fulfilment of their potential and participation in the development of their country. The organization is registered with the government of Malawi through social welfare department and operating in the district Rumphi from northern part of Malawi.
2. Rationale or Problem Statement
Children living in and on the Street face different form of abuse as they are fighting for survival, most of these children are vulnerable who are subjected to hazardous and unhygienic condition putting them at risk of infections, drug and substance abuse and introduced to crime. A lot of children have been seen working and begging in the streets of many cities in Malawi and most of them are out of school with undecided future. These children are mostly seen selling commodities like clothes, plastic bags and agricultural products in order to get money to meet their needs. It is of major concern to observe how these children live, some live under bridges, unfinished houses and vacant places.
Major issues forcing these children in the streets includes domestic, economic and social disruption which include poverty, breakdown of families sexual, physical or emotional abuse, domestic violence mental health problems, substance abuse, sexual orientation or gender identical issue. Some children may end in streets due to cultural and religious factors for example girls are forced to engage themselves in sexual activities for the benefit of families economically
With great concern, these children are very at risk of COVID-19 as they are vulnerable due to unfavorable conditions being exposed every day, they are working and begging in the street, it should be noted that most of these children interact with a lot of people each day who may be a great threat to the society if some of them can be infected with COVID-19, culturally children are very close to their grandparents as most of them lost their parents due to HIV/AIDS. If these children can catch the virus may destroy the whole community within a short period of time as they are too mobile moving from one point to another trying to make ends meet. Old people are very at risk of COVID-19 due to weak immune system hence the need to prevent the spread of the virus among children who may easily transmit the virus to them.
3. Main Activities and Approach
Care Foundation would want to address grassroots issues contributing to increased number of children living in and on the street. The organization is intending to withdraw, prevent and protect these children from COVID-19 and other form of abuse, sensitize communities on providing care and support to vulnerable children, support identified vulnerable households with an income generating activity to reduce number of children going to the street trying to make ends meet, provide direct support to children identified in the street to stay in school, procure and distribute COVID-19 sanitary materials and distribute among parents and guardians of children identified in the street, sensitize the communities on COVID-19 and preventive measures, provide ongoing psychosocial support services to children and guardians to rehabilitate from psychological trauma.
4. Target Communities and Reasons
Care Foundation will target 4 communities in Rumphi district which includes Rumphi Boma, Bolero, Chitimba and Chiweta. In brief these communities are the main business hubs of Rumphi district and market places, the 2 communities of Chiweta and Chitimba are along the lake shores of northern part of Lake Malawi. In these communities children are forced to go for fishing while most of the girls are seen selling dry fish who are out of school, these children may be the great threat to the communities around them if they are infected with COVID-19. Children travel from different places within the districts and other district to work around these communities to make their ends meet. Most of these children living in these markets places are those who travel from the southern region of Malawi with their parents who came to work in tobacco farms and mostly those who lost both parents and lack parental care and support.
5. Target Groups
Care Foundation will target children living in and on the street not less than 4 hours per day, will also target vulnerable household heads who some of their children have been identified in the street. The organization has so far identified 50 children at Rumphi Boma and is yet to identify at Bolero, Chitimba and Chiweta, likely the number will increase to more than hundred.
6. Implementation Period
Care Foundation will carry out this program for a period of six months and shall recruit social workers to facilitate implementation of all the activities at community level.
7. Program Approach Strategy
The program will strengthen strategies and scale up withdraw of children from the street and prevent those on the verge of being in the street through different interventions at Boma point and other trading centres within the district where children work in the street. The approach will strengthen systems for protecting boys and girls from COVID-19 and different form of abuse, exploitation and violation. The project will work in collaboration with community development structures, key district stakeholders and other partners of the same interest for experience sharing and capacity building.
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