first, we want to use this opportunity to wish you and your loved ones a happy new year- may it be full of love, compassion and laughter for all of us and the most vulnerable people in our societies. Have you set new years resolutions for yourself?
We at BRAVEAURORA definitely set big goals for the year ahead to reach our vision to become a frontliner in Child Protection in the northern regions of Ghana and to provide more and more children with a protected life in their family settings.
Reflecting on the last year of 2021 with special focus on the last quarter we are filled with immense gratitude of what could be achieved and how we could expand our projects to reach out to more people through the continuous dedication and hard work of our staff and our most generous supporters and partners.
Looking back on the last quarter of 2021 a huge milestone could be achieved in closing another children’s home and reintegrating the last 8 children living there with their families. Sawla Children’s Home was officially closed on the 18th of December 2021 and BRAVEAURORA together with DSW and the home officials took part in the reunification of the children with their families. The children and their families were prepared well through extensive counselling processes to provide them with the necessary encouragement and support for this big change in all their lives. BRAVEAURORA will continue with the post placement monitoring with DSW to ensure that the children settle well within their families.
Concerning Dalia and the two other children, who we have told you about in our last report and who have lived already now over half a year with their families - we and the DSW officer responsible are in constant exchange with them and there is a very good working relationship established between our social worker responsible and the families. We were happy to realize that they easily reach out to us if there are challenges they face or information they would need. For the last quarter we especially supported the families to make a formal introduction to the schools of their children, so from now on they are the ones recognized as the legal guardians by the school officials instead of the caretaker in the children’s home.
Sometimes it can be quite challenging for the families to take up these responsibilities because they haven’t been used to do so for a long time and there are many insecurities underlying it. However, after these very important steps were made all the families felt very proud and happy.
Also, the collaboration with Mama Ladi’s Children’s Home and Operation Mango Tree continued. In order to give them new perspectives and ideas on how they could transform their work more and more towards family-based care, we partnered in doing community engagements on the importance of family-based care together. Through this the staff of Operation Mango Tree was able to learn from the experience and the skills of the BRAVEAURORA social workers.
Concerning our work in preventing family separation and strengthening family-based care our YAP team was able to reach out to 5 more communities in the Mamprugo Moagduri District reaching a total of 464 people through the community sensitizations.
A very special event was also that we were able to organize our first two radio programs together with DSW at the radio station in Yagaba in the Mamprugo Moagduri District. This project gives us the opportunity to spread our message to an even larger number of people, who often live in quite remote areas, which would be very hard to access through community sensitizations. Every radio program includes a call-in session, where people can make contributions or ask questions to the content that was shared. The program is usually done in the local language so really everyone can understand it and contribute to the discussions.
With these very important steps and activities in this project as well as many more in our other projects we drew the curtains on 2021 and are full of anticipation, motivation and inspiration for a new year to come with new opportunities for us as BRAVEAURORA and especially for all our beneficiaries.
Our heartfelt gratitude once again to everyone who has supported us throughout the last year and is willing to be part of our journey also in 2022.
Take care and stay healthy.
Time flies and as we are experiencing the peak of the rainy season in the Northern Regions of Ghana currently, it is also time for BRAVEAURORA’s 2nd quarter report of 2021. A lot has been achieved within this period again and we are delighted to take you on the journey with us and see what steps have been made to provide children with protected lives in family settings.
This quarter, we want to start with a story of Dali. Dali was one of three children, who with the support of BRAVEAURORA and the Department of Social Welfare, were reunified with their families in June 2021. After a life of around 10 years in the orphanage, they are now finally able to live in their communities and with their families again. For Dali, like many children, the reunification was an event she anticipated with mixed feelings. There was on the one hand her excitement of getting to know her family and being close to them and on the other hand many insecurities and fears. Some of the main challenges for Dali were that in the residential home she grew up being Christian and spoke a language different from her family’s. So, when she started to live with her family again, she first felt alienated and as a stranger in the mid of her own relatives. However now two months later through regular psychosocial counselling and support, Dali is settling well with her family again. When our social worker visited her the last time, she was amazed by how warm and welcoming the relationship between Dali and her family has become and Dali’s smile is proving that she is very happy to be back home. The story of Dali how important the continuous support of social workers are during the reintegration process. Even though, a lot has been achieved already, when children are being reunified with their families, it is key that the support doesn’t end there. BRAVEAURORA together with the Department of Social Welfare ensure through regular monitoring visits that the needs of the children are being met. In order to make more stories like that of Dali come true, we are tirelessly working together with the Department of Social Welfare on encouraging residential homes to shift towards family-based care and supporting them in the process. This means mainly a lot of technical support in terms of providing them with the necessary knowledge and tools and also in awareness creation.
This quarter therefore we visited the regional Department of Social Welfare office in Wa and collaborated with them in monitoring several homes in the region in order to provide quality assurance, as well as further promoting the transitioning of the homes into family-based care. Besides that, as part of the Foster Care Program, assessment were conducted in 4 homes in two of the Northern regions of Ghana together with the Head of the Foster Care Service Unit of the Department of Social Welfare National Office. The purpose of these visits was also to monitor the progress in the transitioning toward family-based care as well as assessing the possibility for Foster Care Placements, if the reunification into their families of origins is not possible.
You may ask yourself how the story of the Mama Laadi Children’s Home continued this quarter? After we signed a memorandum of understanding within the last quarter, in which they committed to the transition to family-based care, we used this quarter to provide training to the staff. We trained them on the necessary steps, tools and documentation processes within the reintegration process based on the Standard Operating Procedures for Child Protection and Family Welfare. This quarter, a lot of focus was on the collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare and active promotion of family-based-care in the residential homes. Reflecting on it, we are very proud, what steps could be achieved again within this time. Steps that would not be possible without the endless strength of our team and all our supporters.
Successful events like the reintegration of Dali keep us moving and fighting for family-based care day in day out. We are grateful that you are by our side to celebrate this success with us and we are looking forward to everything that still awaits us on this journey- until we hear each other again- keep in mind- small moves- big change.
Since 2010, BRAVEAURORA has worked tirelessly on improving the living conditions of children in Northern Ghana and providing them with perspectives for a healthy life in dignity within their communities.
In order to achieve sustainable changes, we are convinced that the complex challenges families face in rural Ghana need to be adressed from multiple angles. That's why BRAVEAURORA is working on decreasing poverty by creating professional opportunities for rural communities, improving educational possibilities for the younger generations as well as advocating for children's rights and well-being through different projects at the same time. All this together contributes to our mission to become a leading advocate in child protection in Northern Ghana and enable children to live a healthy life in their family.
The reintegration project therefore is at the core of our work and we are delighted to tell you about the steps forward we were able to achieve within the first quarter of 2021.
Through BRAVEAURORA's continuous effort to raise awareness on the importance of family- based care and reintegration in collaboration with institutional care facilities, we were able to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Mama Laadi's Children Home on the 31st of March, 2021.In this agreement, the home commits to transition towards family- based care and reintegrating children at scale. This is a huge success and BRAVEAURORA will together with the Departement of Social Welfare support the home with the reintegration process using the reintegration guidelines.
“I am very glad to be a part of this family, the family that always have the vulnerable at heart. I am exactly 4 years now with BRAVEAURORA and we have made big moves together. Empowering the young female is something I have so much passion for, we work with the young females in the communities and encourage them on how they can build a better future for themselves."- says Faiza one of BRAVEAURORA's social workers about her daily work. Our social workers passion for the work is one-of- a- kind and they are a huge asset to our team. Within the last quarter they were again able to provide around 700 children and their care givers with essential sensitization and knowledge on various topics related to questions on health, rights, family-life and education. In a lot of the activities, women empowerment takes centre stage. Additional to the workshops, the social workers provide constant individual counselling to families and young individuals in need of support.
Our Young Ambassador's program was successful again in reaching out to communties on the harmful effects of orphanage care and the importance of family- based alternatives. 279 paritcipants in 5 communities were actively participated in the sensitisation. Listening fervently to the touching stories of the young ambassador team comprising; careleavers and caregiverss, who experienced themselves first-hand the negative impacts of family separation.
To reach even more people, BRAVEAURORA got on-air regularily at the local radio station to advocate for children's rights and reintegration.
When fighting day in, day out for a better future for our children, it is always of very special joy when we realise that we are not alone fighting for this cause but that we are part of a huge global network of organisations, who dedicate themselves to the same mission. That's why we are delighted to be part of the Orphan Myth network now, which enables us to collaborate with organisations around the world to push forward our agenda for the most vulnerable in our society.
All these beautiful big and small steps we take every day, woudn't be possible without the support of everyone of you out there. We are highly grateful for every single one of you- together we have to capacity to bring about unstoppable change. So let's continue going on this journey together and live by the motto: “Small moves- big changes.“
BRAVEAURORA was founded in Ghana in January 2010 to support vulnerable children in the community of Guabuliga in the North East Region of Ghana after seeing the plight of children in the then Guabuliga Orphanage. At this time, the focus of the organization was on improving living conditions of the children in care and expanding their educational, economic and health opportunities. With time, the vision of the organization bourgeoned and the scope was broadened to cover community development and child protection in general.
BRAVEAURORA now works with partners across the northern regions of Ghana to facilitate deinstitutionalization; tracing and monitoring cases, sensitizing RHC to reintegrate children, sensitizing RHC to close the homes, supporting RHC to transform their activities towards family-based care, supporting case management, providing quality assurance, training child protection actors, documenting and sharing best practices among others.
As a non-profit, BRAVEAURORA is purely funded by donations, grants and contributions from members, collaboration partners and our online community. It was therefore a gamechanger for us in 2020 to make it through the GlobalGiving Accelerator Program. Funds raised through the benevolence of BRAVEAURORA’s GlobalGiving community touched several lives in rural Ghana in the last quarter. For the past three months, we worked at pace to support reunification efforts, support deinstitutionalization and strengthen families in northern Ghana. The key activities undertaken are presented below;
After weeks of family tracing and monitoring, BRAVEAURORA worked with the Department of Social Welfare (DSW) in the Upper East Region of Ghana to reunify 14 children from Timaltaaba Children’s Home in the Talensi District. The reunification was done using the case management approach as espoused by the Case Management Standard Operating Procedures for Children in Need of Care and Protection (UNICEF, DSW, MoGCSP; 2018). BRAVEAURORA provided the reunified children with assorted support packages including; food items, hygiene items, school items and dignity kits for adolescent girls. The reunification event was attended by key stakeholders in the municipality. The Regional Director of DSW reemphasized the department’s commitment to ensure that every child grows up in a loving and caring family. BRAVEAURORA continues to provide monitoring support and quality assurance to DSW to realise this.
As part of BRAVEAURORA’s collaboration with Operation Mango Tree/Mama Laadi Children’s Home to support the transition of the home towards family-based care, BRAVEAURORA supported the project to start constructing a two-bedroom accommodation for a reintegrating family in Gowrie, a community under the Bongo District. The 8-member household currently reside in an uncompleted school structure due to the collapse of their accommodation from heavy rains. With the funds raised through GlobalGiving, BRAVEAURORA provided funds to support the construction. BRAVEAURORA also provide continuous monitoring to the family, to support them go through the difficult time and prevent further separation. BRAVEAURORA is working with Operation Mango Tree to link the family to other family support services and provide livelihood opportunities for the care givers.
Working on a recommendation from the DSW Head Office, BRAVEAURORA is supporting five orphaned children in villages around the Bongo District. The children are below five and are currently in kinship care. BRAVEAURORA recognizes the importance for the children to stay within families and it is in this spirit that the organization supports their families to take care of the children. The organization is therefore working closely with the District head of DSW to provide ongoing support to the families. Apart from providing financial support to the families, social workers of the organization also provide them with psychosocial support. Efforts are also been made to put them under national safety net programs.
Within the quarter, BRAVEAURORA also provided direct education to 537 community members from 6 communities in the East Mamprusi and Mamprusi Moaduri Districts of the North East Region of Ghana. Care leavers and caregivers on the Young Ambassadors Program (YAP) reached these communities on the importance of family-based as opposed to the dangers on institutionalization. The YAP is a gatekeeping effort aimed at enlightening communities about the orphanage crisis and empowering them to keep their children within families. Volunteers on the YAP include care leavers, caregives and social workers from BRAVEAURORA and DSW.
The lives BRAVEAURORA has touched over the past months would not have been possible without the tremendous support from our GlobalGiving community. The change you bring about lasts a lifetime. We are grateful for every dollar put into the project and we will continue to advocate and push for family-based care at all levels.
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