Mar 16, 2016

Forging New Partnerships to Help Ebola Orphans

Ibrahim Kawa meets with program stakeholders
Ibrahim Kawa meets with program stakeholders

While the most serious period of the Ebola Virus outbreak appears to have been contained, the devastating long-term social and economic effects are just beginning to surface. 

To support the Ebola-recovery phase, Kidsave- Sierra Leone is excited to announce an expansion of our program through a new partnership with The Federation for Integrated Development/Sierra Leone (FID).  FID, a local organization founded by Sierra Leoneans with a ten year track record, aims to improve the lives and, “enhance opportunities for Men, Women, Youths and the Elderly living in socio-cultural and economic disadvantage live a better future.”

After identifying an interim care center with a large population of Ebola orphans with no opportunity for reunification with their biological families, FID program coordinator Ibrahim Kawa reached out to Kidsave for assistance. Having heard of Kidsave’s work on behalf of Ebola orphans, he felt that together we could have a profoundly positive impact on the identified children’s lives. We believe combining Kidsave’s innovative Family Visit Model with FID’s expert business training and local know-how will prove a powerful force to help the identified Ebola orphans find permanent families within their communities.

The economic strengthening component of our forthcoming project will offer a leg up to struggling families that open their hearts and homes to these orphans. This component is crucial to help rebuild not only the lives of these orphans, but also their entire community.  As Ibrahim says, “We have found that when we take a ‘two generation approach’, simultaneously addressing the challenges care-giver/parents themselves face and encouraging more interaction between them and the orphan children, we are more successful in improving situations for orphans under learning conditions other than in orphanages where they have very little time for culture and tradition.”

While still in the early design phase, Kidsave has high hopes for the success of our newest project and partnership. As Sierra Leone moves forward from Ebola containment toward recovery, we know that a great deal of work still needs to be done to find permanent loving families for the orphans devastated by this terrible virus. Thank you from all of us at Kidsave, your donations have helped, and continue to help us in our crucial mission to find permanent, loving families for Sierra Leone’s orphans.

We are also excited to let you know that our Sierra Leone project will be a part of GlobalGIving's March 16th bonus day! All donations made to Kidsave projects through GlobalGiving on March 16th will receive pro-rated bonus funds from a $75,000 pool. This means that for every dollar you donate to our life changing programs in Sierra Leone from 9 a.m. through 11:59 p.m. (eastern standard time) an additional donation will be made in your honor by GlobalGiving. As we forge ahead with our programs to help some of the most vulnerable children in the world secure families, mentors, and bright futures we thank you for all you do to make our vital work possible.

Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or ideas that you might have -

Thank you again,

Kristoff Kohlhagen (Kidsave Africa Programs Manager)    

A FID agricultural project in action
A FID agricultural project in action


Jan 29, 2016

Katya is ready for independent living, her mentor says

Katya and her son
Katya and her son

Up to seven years Katya lived in the family, but her parents drank heavily and didn’t take care of her. Sometimes it was nothing to eat in their house. Since childhood, Katya lived in the street. When her parents were deprived of parental rights Katya was adopted by a woman living in the same house, mother of Katya’s friend. Being a teenager, Kate began to run away from home, and became pregnant at the age of 14. Then she entered “Teen Mom” Kidsave’s program.

In December, 2012 Katya gave birth to a son, Ilya. At the beginning it was difficult to her to take care of her baby as Katya was a child herself. But she willingly went to the contact with the experts of the program and quickly mastered all the wisdom of caring for the baby.

Kate was a good student in school, has always had an interest in arts: she loves to sing, dance, and to draw. Katya is always happy to take part in creative workshops that are conducted by volunteers and mentors of Kidsave.

Since her first steps in the program Katya wanted to have a mentor, she wanted to find a person whom she may trust. At one of the Kidsave’s events Katya met Oksana - beautiful, young woman, a successful businessman. Kate asked Oksana to be her mentor. At that time Oksana already was a mentor to another girl, but she agreed to take Katy as she understood how important it is for this girl.

Their relationship continues for six months. Oksana says that Katya has changed a lot. "Even her demeanor is different now", Oksana says. Katya became more confident, not afraid of her future, understand how important it is for her and her baby to graduate a college and got a stable job. September 1 this year, Kate went to college and is about to become a hairdresser.

Kate is not 18 by the moment, so she still lives in "Teen Mom" program. Oksana says in some ways Katya is more ready for independent living than some older girls in the program.

Jan 20, 2016

600 Families Require Strengthening in Santa Marta

Family in an emotional ties workshop
Family in an emotional ties workshop

In 2015 the, “Empower 100 Vulnerable Colombian Families Project,” helped to strengthen the technical capacity of 50 local government and NGO professionals working to better the quality of life of vulnerable Colombian families. A pilot intervention was executed with 25 vulnerable families in the Las Tres Cruces neighborhood in Santa Marta, Colombia. These families are living under extreme poverty conditions, and are victims of the migration caused by violence.

On October 2015 the results of the experience with these families was presented. The results showed that these families increased their abilities in family dialogue and self-control. Domestic violence also decreased and the parents along with their children started the “Life Project” process.

With the empowering of these families it was possible to show the community a better way to care for kids without aggression or violence, and to make sure that the door to dialogue was kept open in order to resolve conflicts that had to do with decision making. Some testimonies of the kids:

 “My parents started to talk with me. They stop hitting me, with dialogue they started to trust me!”

 “Well, now there is a lot of communication in the family, we can now enjoy time in the family. The problems we have we now resolved them by dialogue and there’s a lot of harmony now.”

 “My mother now talks to me, and she doesn’t hit me anymore…”

 “… We now share together, we play, we have dinner together, and everything change for the better in the house”

 According to James Heckman (literature Nobel Prize winner), poverty starts with bad parenting and a lack of care for children. Good parental care is basic for the development of happy human beings and is much more important than money. Family care is crucial for the construction and nature of emotional ties. Having healthy emotional ties is the most important element for an adult to be a positive part of a society, work, and be a role-model citizen.

With the experience acquired through this first pilot, the Kidsave foundation wishes to continue building on its proven successful work in this part of the country. To accomplish this goal we are seeking the financial support of cooperative associations and passionate donors like you that want to help an additional 100 families in the neighborhood (Las Tres Cruces) of the city of Santa Marta.

Our project nurtures a process of formation, accompaniment and a rigorous systematization. This systematization allows for the understanding of the conditions of these families and for the registrations of successful practices so that our successes can be replicated for all the families that live in Las Tres Cruces and the other regions of Colombia.

Thank you so much for your support of these vulnerable families and for sharing our story with your friends, families, and social networks.

We want to wish you a very happy and healthy 2016!  

Families imagining a better environment
Families imagining a better environment
A program participant plays in a park
A program participant plays in a park


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