Wednesday 24 February 2016

"The three weeks I spent with the people at Child's i Foundation were eye opening. I was fortunate enough to be able to meet with each of the Foundation’s short term foster carers, many of whom live in modest houses within a rural communities.  These amazing people do a fantastic job of supporting and caring for the babies and children placed with them, often with very little.”  

Georgina Arnold, Supervising Social Worker, Blue Sky Fostering. 

Each year, during the dark days of winter, two members of staff from Blue Sky travel to Uganda, to spend three weeks with our chosen charity, Child’s i Foundation. 

The Foundation, established in 2009 by Lucy Buck, is working closely with the Ugandan government to tackle the heartbreaking problem of the abandonment of babies and children when their families just can’t afford to care for them. The visiting staff from Blue Sky give their time, freely, to help the Foundation and to assist with the emergency foster care pilot.

Rescuing babies from certain death

Most recently, our Recruitment Director, Sarah Rockett and Supervising Social Worker, Georgina Arnold, spent time at the Foundation. 

“In the beginning, the Foundation established the Malaika babies’ home, rescuing abandoned babies from certain death”

explains Sarah.

“Extreme poverty and an extra mouth to feed can lead to desperate situations. If the parents have nowhere to turn, they feel the only option is to abandon their baby. Sometimes in a field far from civilisation with no clothing, shade or water. Sometimes down sewers to face certain death if they’re not found. It doesn’t bear thinking about.” 

Life-saving work 

“Whilst Sarah worked closely with the people at Child's i to provide professional training and guidance with writing foster care policies and foster carer handbook, I evaluated the effectiveness of the Foundation’s short term fostering programme,”

explains Georgina.

“and, as I’m sure you can imagine, the evidence was conclusive; a child placed within a family will likely have better outcomes as opposed to remaining within an institution. Proof that Child's i's work is life-saving in many ways”. 

Foster care pilot 

“When our colleagues, David and Kirstie visited in 2014, they helped the people at Child's i to establish their foster care pilot, and in the past year or so, they have recruited five fostering families who’ve cared for sixteen children and babies to date, many of whom have gone on to be adopted or returned home to their birth families with the support of the Foundation.” 

Triplets in matching outfits 

“I was also able to shadow Child's i social workers on several home visits to families whereby they supported a successful reunification home or looked to support families so as to reduce the possibility of abandonment. Two of these families particularly stood out; one young mother had 6 month old triplet boys and together with her husband the family lived in a one room home. It was evident that this couple relied heavily upon the Foundation to provide them with support and guidance. Each of the boys was dressed in matching spotless outfits, their mum confirming this was common practice for Ugandans as it often is within western countries.” 

It was evident her grandson adored her 

“I shadowed a Child's i worker on a visit to a sprightly 76 year old woman whom was raising her 18 month old great grandson. This lady had had 11 of her own children and sadly had lost 7 of them to HIV or AIDs. She had created beautiful headstones for each of her late children within her vegetable garden. This lady was doing the most incredible job of raising her grandson and it was evident that he adored her.” 

Good news 

The foster care pilot has been such a success that Child's i closed the babies’ home recently and moved to a new eight-bed family centre where staff will provide short-term emergency care for abandoned children for up to three months. 

200 lives saved 

The success of the work undertaken by Lucy and her colleagues at Child's i Foundation is clear to see. Over 200 babies and children have been saved and placed with adoptive or foster families and in some cases have been returned to their own family with the ongoing support of the Foundation.  The Ugandan government has developed a National Action Plan for Alternative Care aiming to ensure every child in Uganda will grow up in a family.

Everyone at Blue Sky is so proud to fundraise, donate and help the people at Child's i continue their incredible life-saving work.

Find out more about Childs i Foundation and please support them if you can.  Your donation, no matter how modest, will help them save more lives.

If you would like to join the Blue Sky team and foster children and young people in the south of England, please get in touch.

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