In a slum where there is no social service or welfare system, Child of Hope’s welfare team does some amazing, ground-breaking work, and is a vital part of how we help slum children and their families.
The five people on the team share pretty much the same duties. Each morning they check the attendance registers; if a child is absent they then follow up that child with a visit – which may mean walking or getting a local motor cycle called a pike (pronounced 'picky'). This often results in the child being brought to school for medicines and treatment if unwell and then being taken home again.
Sometimes parents move house without informing the school, which also makes follow up difficult. And in the rainy season it is difficult to follow the children up because of the muddy unmade paths.
If a family is struggling, team members decide how to assist them so the circumstances don’t affect the child's health or well-being or cause him to miss school. This may mean providing a new roof, or helping with essentials when a family loses everything, perhaps through a house fire.
The welfare team provides help and counselling for families too, as they are all trained counsellors. Parents can attend the school for help on Thursday mornings and if necessary involve the child in this process. Parenting classes are also a positive feature of the team's work.
If they believe a child is being abused, they will meet parents first and only involve the Police when they believe there is no alternative action possible.
Each year the team is involved with the child selection process, selecting only children from the poorest and most vulnerable families. They interview parents who wish to send a child to the school and decide which children should be accepted. They have strict criteria for this, but it is not an easy task as so many children want to go to the school.
If you’d like to help the welfare team, please consider part-sponsoring one of the team members. Sponsorship starts at just £10 per month