The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has commended Rwanda for her endeavor to settle vulnerable children in foster families rather than keeping them in childcare institutions.
She said this during the inauguration of the Way Forward Project, a congressional summit hosted in the US on the adoption of children.
It is a partnership between six African countries; Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Ghana, Malawi and Ethiopia.
“What you’re doing, today, is bringing policymakers, investors, and implementers together and we are so proud to be partnering for the important sake of putting your children first. We are seeking ways to improve the full continuum of care for vulnerable children in Africa,” she said.
Rwanda was represented by James Kimonyo, the ambassador in the US.
Present at the summit were Suzan Jacobs, the special Advisor for Children’s Issues, also Brodin Nyanja Nzabamwita, a former foster youth and founder of ISHAMI, a Rwandan organisation that advocates for children’s rights.
The Advisor at the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion, Emmanuel Nzaramba, said that government introduced a programme aimed at settling every child in a family setting.
“That has enabled many children to grow up normally in families with parental figures, brothers and sisters,” Nzaramba told The New Times.
“In Rwanda’s history, we have had to contend with large numbers of orphans, many of them with HIV. We believe that for them to grow up normally, it is important to get them from institutions and receive more attention availed in families.”
The Ministry is currently running a programme titled “Mpore Mpore” which documents all children in childcare institutions. The programme also seeks to boost the intellectual and physical strengths of such children while trying to find out whether they have any surviving relatives.
Over 3,000 children have been reunited with their relatives or found good foster families to live in.