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Orphanage adopts family care model

A Charitable Children Institution (CCI) in Kakamega has fully adopted the Family Care Model, where children are taken care of at home as opposed to being housed in an orphan care centre.

Registered as Kakamega Orphan Care Centre, CCI will now be known as United Kenya Rising (UKR) after finalizing all the required legal processes.

The Administrator of the facility, Nelson Ida Litswa, said they adopted the family model in 2018 and released all children to their homes and guardians in support of Alternative Family Care system being fronted by the government of Kenya.

The Model, he said, focuses on improving homes to be conducive and attractive to children.

Litswa says the idea was also lauded by officers from the National Council for Children Services (NCCS), who visited the centre on 4th March during inspections of CCIs.

They were on their routine visit of CCIs in Nyanza and Western regions to assess their compliance to government regulations, while advocating for Alternative Family Care System.

Listwa noted that the government officers were impressed that Kakamega Orphan Care Centre, was quick to adopt the system being the only one in Western region and will now serve as an example to others.

“The Model seeks to ensure that abandoned, orphaned and abused children are taken care of in the community and not in home care centers,” he noted.

He said the Model proved successful after a pilot was done with 17 families, now they have reached to more than 200 families.

“We found out that the challenges most families faced were leaking roofs, the houses were very small and in some cases the environment was not conducive, so we had to improve on that,” he noted.

He said that together with partners, they embarked on supporting families to be stable so that the same families can support children to access education, while the organization chips in where the family is stuck like provision of uniforms, books and scholarships for those in high school, colleges and universities.

Currently the CCI is supporting 100 students in various Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET), 197 in high school and 56 in colleges and Universities.

As part of home improvement, Litswa said they are providing families benefiting from the program with solar lamps, small tanks and training them on starting farming or small businesses to earn a living.

“We are partnering with Sunking to give them solar lamps, instead of one-person enjoying electricity available in an orphanage, we have to let them enjoy sunlight while at home,” he explained.

After transforming to a Family Care Model, the organization has increased its staff from 18 to 42.

“We had to recruit more staff since we needed social workers to work in those families, agriculture officers, education officers among others. In fact, we even have attracted more donors than before,” he pointed out.

Currently, as part of health improvement programs, the CCI encourages every family they support to register with the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF), where they can access medication easily without spending a lot of money.

“We have now partnered with Pharm Access in paying premiums, such that we pay Sh1,500 for each family as Pharm Access tops-up the rest of the amount for every family to be covered,” he said.

By Moses Wekesa

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