The National Commission for Children has reported that some 2,294 orphans have been reintegrated into foster families since the inception of a programme dubbed “Tubarere Mu Muryango (TMM).”
Tubarere Mu Muryango, which literally means “let’s raise children in families,” has been running for the last four years but there appears to be little evidence that its presence is on the lips of the majority of the citizens.
If this holds, then there is something wrong.
Such a remarkable programme should be hanging in the face of every adult of sound mind like a giant billboard. Instead, four years after it was launched and having already extended initial deadline of ending orphanages, there are still quite many children in child support centres.
The good thing is that a new campaign to mobilise the community to promote safe family environment for children and encourage families to receive children living in orphanages is up and running.
Every child deserves family-based care. There are many advantages of that. Similarly, there is no doubt there are many families in the country that would gladly take up an orphan or two. But why are authorities not getting a mad dash for orphans?
The problem cannot be in the law. The Rwandan law on adoption is very clear and mutually beneficial for both the adoptee and the adopting person, except for the clauses that spell out the issue of age (of the person adopting).
What is most needed in the new campaign, therefore, is tenacious and deliberate effort to raise profiles of orphans or orphanages in the media. Efforts should be made to, say, organise regular functions for members of the public that see them visit orphanages.
Finally, raising children requires a lot of efforts and resources, so there should be a way for the Government to play more part such as in continuing to contribute for adopted children. For instance, the Government can implement a policy that sees it pay part of the fees for orphans in foster families. This would ensure that adoptees are accorded good education and not just any excuse of one.
Other incentives to foster families would also go a long way in encouraging more people to adopt children and give them the kind of care they would otherwise never get from orphanages.