Institutional Child Care and Support
Bride of Hope Gondar children’s Village has been continuing as the best performing childcare organization at national level practicing a family type of childcare, which enables OVC to have a familial environment. Family type arrangement has been designed to restore the broken natural family by a similar one. Currently our Gondar children’s village is a home for more than 162 children. In order to fulfill the needs of the children and enable them realize their dreams in respect to child care and support the following major activities have been accomplished.
Construction of Children and Family Residences
In order to give conducive and comfortable housing for the children construction of 8 children and family residences are completed and currently they are functional and providing the necessary and required service. The villas are equipped with all kinds of modern facilities. In one residence there are two wider children bed rooms, one common living and dining room, two rest rooms (toilet rooms) each with 3 to 4 hand wash basins and shower rooms, one kitchen room, self contained mother room and a store. The living and dining rooms were well furnished with comfortable sofas and tables, chairs, Satellite dish TV and others. The children bed rooms were also equipped with deluxe beds (one bed for one child) and cap boards. Each family residence has its own backyards whereby the family can grow different vegetables and plant trees and flowers. The 8 residences are currently giving housing service for 150 children.
Care and Support
Proper care and management of all the children has been undertaken in 8 family houses of which 4 are for the boys and 4 for the girls. Before 2007 boys and girls were living together in one house. However, in 2007 the boys were separated from girls in order to reduce the risk of biological and sexual affliction that may arise between two different sexes, therefore, they have started to live in separate homes. Each family has 17 to 19 members of children, which consists of all age groups from 1 to 17 years. The family has been run by well trained women headed mother who is a full time worker with commitment and attached with the children always providing them with love and care. For all the village children there is one father who plays the role of fatherhood and has a responsibility in leading the child care section. Love is our greatest gift for the children along with the various services we provide them.
Young girls’ family house was established so as to enable them to learn how to manage themselves by their own as well as abandoned babies have been properly cared and managed while they were in the children’s village. The abandoned babies are cared in three babies’ homes each home with one caregiver.
Out door play grounds such as foot ball, Volley ball, basket ball and table tennis, etc are provided so as to give relaxed atmosphere and meet the children physical and psychological needs. In addition indoor games have also been arranged for them in order to relax and practice different sports. In order to raise children with the knowledge of protecting the environment and create an appropriate living compound, the village compound has been planted with different varieties of trees and flowers. This has made the village to become a beautiful Garden as well as serving as a recreation center for the local community in Gondar city.
Food Services/Common Kitchen
Food as the most basic need of mankind has been given the greatest concern in BoH Children's Village. Accordingly there is always a three month food reserve stock in children's food store, so that bulk purchase for non perishable food items is carried out every quarter, despite perishable food items had been bought every two weeks. Research based weekly food program, that consists of proper balanced diet and appropriate variety meals which is useful for physical and mental development of children is applied; as result; BoH Children had been provided best nutritional diets and have a privilege to eat four meals in a day.
The childcare section head (sometimes called father), together with mothers, kitchen workers and the clinic nurse, is a prior responsible person to follow the daily provision of balance diet for all children as well as to check and control the cleanness and free contamination and best sanitary conditions of food handlers and the kitchen area. He also control the daily stock balance using a bin card controlling mechanism, He closely works with the kitchen coordinator and constantly submit purchase request of food and cleaning material for administration section on time.
Provision of Clothe for the Children
For the last ten years, all village children have got sufficient clothing supplies twice a year, excluding school uniform, which is supplied once every year for all children. The Village had provided the following clothing for Village children. Some of the clothing and shoe types provided for children are complete clothing, shoe, slipper shoe, pants, socks and t-shirts twice a year and belts, scarps were also provided as needed. In addition blankets and bed sheets have been provided as necessary.
Education Service/Bridge Magdalena Academy
Education is one of the basic services given to the orphan children by Bridge of Hope. Previously the educational service given to the children was carried out in two ways; kindergarten and primary education. The kindergarten education is run and managed by our organization; whereas the service of the primary education was focusing on facilitating the educational service for our children in private schools. Due to the high cost of education in private schools and the need for more quality education as well as the intent to expand our services to the community we have opened elementary school in 2008 with the name of 'Bridge Magdalena Academy" which is currently providing education for the children’s of village for grade one to five with the possible expansion with one or more grades every year.
On the other hand primary education for 72 village children whose grade levels are 6 and above has been well facilitated. Currently our children are following their education in Kings Academy which is one of the best private schools in Gondar town. Monthly school fee and necessary stationary and educational materials for the students are covered by the project. In addition, tutorial class for all students is given three times in a week so as to enhance their level of education and make them competent enough to attain good academic performance.
Provision of Health Care Services for the Children
Our organization gives prevention priority to curing. We believe that premedical care or prevention is the most effective method of protection of health which results in saving lives, time and money. The main concern of the BoH health service is prevention. The cleanness and neatness of Children’s kitchen, homes, bed room’s toilet, in general as well as sanitation of personal and environmental hygiene, are given the highest concern. Therefore; the cleanness and neatness of the children’s village is daily checked and monitored by our clinic nurse.
Provision of balanced diet with the daily follow up of the nurse and other staff has been also one part of prevention. In addition children are being taught preventive health education by the clinic nurse once in a month for an hour, which helps children to know how to keep the cleanness of their personal and environmental hygiene. Further to the above the clinic, on a regular basis, provides awareness education to the children, the staff and on certain occasions to members of the community on different communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS etc.
Sport and Art
Bridge children have also been involving in different sport and artistic activities by organizing them in two sport and art clubs. With the art club about 60 children were organized and involved. The children have produced stage drama at different times in the past and presented them for the public at different holydays. The future plan is to publish and release educational dramas and comedies on VCD/DVD to the public.
With regard to the sport club almost all children have been involved in different sport activities. The different sport activities are Foot Ball, Volley ball, Basket Ball, Table Tennis, Athletics, Circus and Judo Art.
Care and Support for Abandoned Children and Babies (drop down)
Due to an ever increasing number in abandoned babies from time to time, the need to save lives of these destitute children from death is necessary. As a result bridge of hope started in admitting abandoned babies as of 2008. About 107 abandoned babies were received from the police, kebles, hospitals, women, children and youth affairs office and the community and admitted to the orphanage to give them temporary care and find permanent care and support for the children.
Children Used as a Means for Begging
Based on the partnership agreement made between our organization and the Gladney Center for Adoption and Family Care of Ethiopia and the Amhara National Regional State, 85 children have been adopted by families from the United States of America and Switzerland. In doing the adoption all legal processes at all stages have been made properly.
The abandoned babies when they come to our organization are cared properly and managed while they live in the children’s village. Saving lives of these abandoned children from death and proper care was properly undertaken with the principle of “children who do not belong to any one belong to all of us”. However due to the limited capacity of the orphanage to care all admitted babies the need to find other permanent care options was mandatory. As a result to save the lives of more abandoned babies and give permanent care the need to look for adoptive parents was very important.
The admission of children is carried out based on the formal procedures and stated criteria of the project document. This admission process goes through legal and formal process in order to find better option to the child before he/she joined to the orphanage. The procedure is started from local Kebele Office initiated by the guardian or by any interested and responsible person or organization. After the local Keble court assured the certainty of the fact with affidavit, it transfers the application for further resolution to Zone or Wereda women, children and youth affairs Offices. The Women Children and Youth Affairs Office previously the Social and Labor Affair Office forms screening team including the orphanage as a member, and the team jointly scrutinizing the severity of the problem and the existing condition of a child on the spot will reach at a decision.
As much as possible the team should have to exhaustively find community based care options and solutions to assist the orphan and vulnerable child rather than submitting him/her simply to the intuitional care.