A new project, De-institutionalization, run by the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion (MIGEPROF) and Hope and Homes for Children (HHC- Rwanda), will see over 3,000 children living in 35 orphanages across the country being placed in foster families.
De-institutionalization is in line with the National Family Policy of One Child, One Family, which encourages the integration of children in orphanages into foster families of willing Rwandans.
During the project’s official launch yesterday, the Country Director of HCC- Rwanda, Vianney Rangira, said that earlier programmes that sent homeless children to orphanages proved to be disastrous to the children’s upbringing and wellbeing.
In response, UNICEF had also cut its support to orphanages worldwide and instead focused on supporting programmes that initiate homeless children into real families where they can develop naturally like other children.
“We already have parents coming to our offices willing to adopt or foster some children. This is a good sign that Rwandans are willing to offer their homes to these children and take care of them as their own,” Rangira said.
“This kind of family care is valueless compared to life in an orphanage, where a child may live in a cycle of pain and low self-esteem. Hopefully, we will have no more orphanages in the near future.”
He added that they will start by creating awareness of the project, and then willing families will be assessed to measure the capability to offer family life to the children.
“We will support all families that will take in these children and also carry out regular supervision to check how they are fairing,” Rangira added.
The Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, said that the move indicates the value that the government attaches to the family as a natural and cultural basis of the Rwandan society.
“Children being the future of this country, need to be brought up in the best way possible, to be morally upright, with self esteem and confidence. These are assets that they can pick from nowhere but from a family setting,” Mujawamariya explained.