Economic, political and social instability in Venezuela is at an all time high, and poverty levels and the number of vulnerable children are increasing. According to official statistics, over 50% of Venezuelans live below the poverty line and 25% of these live in extreme poverty. Disadvantaged children suffer from malnutrition, poor living conditions and lack of access to daycare. Too often, impoverished parents, mostly single mothers, cannot adequately tend to their children and abandon them in the heartbreaking belief that they will be better cared for as wards of the government. The children languish in institutional orphanages as their files wind their way through various state agencies; the fortunate ones are assigned to private orphanages, which cannot serve all abandoned children due to inadequate resources. Lacking family nurturing, children exhibit severe social, psychological, learning and speech deficits, as well as other conditions related to extreme poverty such as malnutrition.
Founded in 1992, Hogar Bambi is a non-profit organization in Caracas, Venezuela, that provides integral care for children deprived of their family environment by creating a home with a stable nurturing structure that provides holistic care, including shelter, nutritious food, education and medical care. It currently operates three complexes in Caracas. Hogar Bambi is constantly receiving children who live in high-risk situations due to the current political, economic, and social situation in Venezuela. These children enter Hogar Bambi through official channels such as hospital patient representatives and family court. They temporarily come to live in Hogar Bambi, until it can identify biological or adoptive families with whom the children can live under safe and stable conditions. Then, children can, either, join their original families or be legally given to foster parents or adopted. The heart of Hogar Bambi is its staff which is comprised of professionals in technical areas (social workers, medical staff, therapists, and teachers) and trained, 24 hour/day surrogate mothers.
Staff members are highly dedicated to their mission and perform comprehensive functions to ensure the integral care of their charges. They provide personalized attention, tailored services and ongoing evaluation in a caring, supportive setting. Children are divided into small groups, where they live with a surrogate mother in order to recreate a family environment. All children and yound residents receive nutritional meals and snacks each day. Upon arrival, staff tests children in motor, speech and cognitive skills in order to determine their specific needs. It offers tailored treatment to new and existing children, focusing on affective disorders, self-esteem and socialization. It continually develops new teaching materials to encourage academic achievement among its charges. In addition, Hogar Bambi’s professionals provide high-quality medical attention to the children, addressing individual needs and promoting preventive care. Children receive speech therapy based on need.
All school-age children and young residents are formally incorporated into schools in the community based on their age, education levels, and special and individualized needs. By helping these children join and remain within the formal education system, Hogar Bambi guarantees their right to a basic education and enables them to rejoin society and exercise their rights as citizens. Hogar Bambi maintains a complex in the city of Caracas comprised of living, dining and educational quarters for 60 infants, children and youths, where it offers the following services: 1) social services and affective care, 2) basic material provisions such as food and clothing, 3) pediatric and psychological health care, 4) pre-school education, and 5) recreation. Hogar Bambi’s goals are to increase the children’s self-esteem, physical and intellectual development while simultaneously working either to reunite them with their families or find adoptive parents.
- Recent accomplishments of note
- For the 2006 school year, 77 beneficiaries including children and young residents of Hogar Bambi were enrolled in the formal education system.
- Hogar Bambi continued ongoing linkages with the Child and Adolescent Protection System in order movethe development of our programs forward.
- It coordinated with different organizations that support the educational activities of our three houses.
- With have institutional partnerships that facilitate school placement for the population served.
- As a leading organization in the area of child and adolescent protection, we provide advice and support to other organizations in the public and private spheres.
- With the support of interns and students doing their volunteer service, Hogar Bambi strengthened its capacity/attention in the areas of Social Work, Psychology and Education, among others.