Support Foster Children with OrphanAid Africa
Posted Sep 27, 2011 by Katja Nelson
In 2002, Lisa Lovatt-Smith, an established author and former editor for Vogue magazine, went on a trip with her daughter to volunteer in a children’s home in Ayenyah, Ghana. There were more than 100 destitute and abandoned children living at the home — some because their parents had died of endemic illnesses such as malaria, AIDS, or tuberculosis, others abandoned because the parents simply could not afford to take care of them. This experience proved to be so life changing for Lisa that she left behind the life she knew in Europe and moved to Ghana full-time, where she founded OrphanAid Africa (OA).
95% of the OrphanAid Africa staff is Ghanaian, including directors of programs, social workers, foster mothers, and teachers. The organization has recently become the only NGO to be named as implementing partner of the Government of Ghana’s National Plan of Action for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (NPA), which aims to transform the system from institutions to family-based care by 2015.
Over 80 percent of the orphaned children in Ghana have family nearby. OrphanAid Africa works to reunite children with their families, in their communities, in the case that they have been placed in an institution. They provide support for those families so they can keep their children. When children cannot be immediately placed back with their families, OA provides other options, such as foster care. OA’s Foster Family Community is a program that provides children in this scenario a home in a family.
Over time, Lisa and the OrphanAid staff have built extensive programs to build stronger families and communities. The OA Foster Family homes were built in response to the need to provide permanent foster care for orphan and vulnerable children who cannot be immediately resettled with their extended families or adopted. The children are grouped into family houses where a specially trained foster mother takes care of a maximum of 6 children, offering them the permanent love, protection and care that a child would usually receive in a family setting. The community also contains a rehabilitation centre for children with special needs, as well as a permaculture farm to lessen their dependence on external funding for food.
Currently, 28 children live at the Foster Family Community. 8 of these children have disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, and require extra medical attention. In order to help meet the needs of all of these children, we have created a fundraising project on Causes called “The Foster Family Community Project” and featured it on our cause Support for a child in the Foster Family Community includes their basic needs, such as food, clothing, education, and shelter. As little as $15 will cover a mental health visit for an abandoned child who requires emotional support; $29 will support a child’s basic needs in the Community for an entire year; $50 will support the needs of a child with disabilities; $100 will cover the school fees for a child for an entire year! In the case of these children, a little bit truly goes a long way — click here to learn more about how you can help.