Title: It takes a village to raise a child
Date: 10-Mar-2010

At SHELTER, we are realistic about the role and place of our residential homes in society. We know for a fact that our homes are not a substitute for good strong families. In fact, we work to prevent our homes from being a dumping ground for parents who may use it as an easy excuse to escape from their own responsibilities towards their children.

However, we do recognise that there is a lot of brokenness in society and children are always the first to suffer. As such, our homes work on providing a balanced approach to social work. On one side we will protect any child within the safeguard of our residential homes if the child is at risk of abuse especially if the risk is from their own parents. On the other side of the balance, we will work with families to ensure that through community development programmes or intervention services, any child whose needs are not adequately met due to societal constraints are assisted and given a better chance to survive.

All who come through our door will release that our homes are kept intentionally small. We try to maintain a good staff to children ratio so that there will be enough personal care and attention towards each child. In each of our residential home, we constantly work on the four following basic areas –

Providing Basic Care – Every child needs the basic care to survive. We work towards providing a good roof over the child’s head, nourishing them with proper and adequate meals, meeting their health care needs promptly and providing them with appropriate care and nurture.

Education Needs – Education, be it academic or vocational based is crucial to the development of any child. All our children go to school. We want them to receive an education because we hope to help them build a platform in which they can make something of themselves in the future. However recognising that many of our children struggle in school, we try to look for other areas of skill based development to ensure that they have enough tools to work with before they reach the point of adulthood and independent living.

Hobbies, Sports & Interest – Hobbies, sports and personal interest is a very important component in our residential home’s programme. This is because we see the benefit of such programmes in building the self-esteem and confidence of our children. Many of them struggle in their academic studies due to years of neglect and as such constantly find themselves feeling like failures. By helping them discover their own potential within the area of interest, hobbies and sports, we hope to build their self-esteem to the point of being confident of themselves and growing a strong sense of self-worth and image.

Rehabilitative Care – Most of our children have much inner hurts to deal with. As such, rehabilitative care is important in the programme of the home. The home for a start works on providing a stable environment for them to grow. By having a place that is safe, their interest nurtured and protected goes a long way in the healing process. We do however also recognise that some of our kids need specialised care from professionals such as clinical psychologists, counsellors and psychiatrists; therefore we would identify those who require specific counselling or therapeutic care and obtain the necessary assistance and care needed.

Despite all our efforts, it is still a constant challenge to attain success in the work we do. SHELTER needs to have good partnerships with the community. We need to work together to provide our children with opportunities to further their education or be given vocational training or apprenticeship and also to finish their SPM. They need a little more time to pick themselves up and continue developing strong ethics, character and values needed to survive in society. They need the guidance and patience from good mentors to help them find themselves and understand their role in society so that they can then take their rightful place and begin to contribute positively to it. There is an old African proverb that says, ‘It takes a village to raise a child’. This is a timeless reminder that children will thrive if the whole society cares enough to provide for them. 

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