Our Work Supporting Children and Young People
There is a demonstrable parity between the needs of children and young people within social care and education systems whether in the UK or Africa.
Unfortunately, there is also demonstrable evidence that the same gaps exist in terms of the strong connections between those receiving these services and those providing them.
Connections are the key to success of any form of meaningful intervention in a young person’s life.
Through many years of involvement in the education, health and social care systems in the UK we have developed a broad understanding of symptoms that arise from the challenges that exist between those with the potential to make positive changes in a child’s life and those children who are systematically failed; those ultimately left to drift to the fringes of society.
The key recurrent theme we see is a lack of meaningful connection – a theme that is core to our vision:
“We want to develop meaningful connections between children and young people and the societal structures that they live within; re-connection built on mutuality of respect, active listening and inclusion”
Our Core Objectives
To help meet this vision we have set out a series of objectives to help steer and guide.
1. To develop the capacity and skills of members of disadvantaged communities.
2. To support peer charities and organisations in the advancement of mental, physical and moral capabilities for children and young people.
3. To promote the rights set out in the UNCRC in communities with whom we work.
There is a real and avoidable deficit in the support of children and young people in Africa despite growing inward aid and investment in the third sector.
Much resource is focussed towards management of symptoms of social deprivation whilst the next generation are not adequately being engaged with to realise substantive, long-term transformation in patterns and behaviours that underlie their situation.
HOW WE DO THIS
We have focussed on three key programmes where we feel our experiences and capabilities can be leveraged to create the greatest impact in the communities with whom we work. These support the promotion of the UNCRC Article 19 which is our focus.
'UNCRC Article 19: protection from violence, abuse and neglect.
Children have the right to be protected from all forms of violence, abuse, neglect and bad treatment by their parents or anyone else who looks after them.'
1. SUPPORTING: EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING IN DISADVANTAGED COMMUNITIES
Through our projects in this area it has been clear there is a breakdown of relationships and communication between children and young people and their communities leading to a deficit in emotional connections which is being played out in abusive expression.
Through this programme we undertake sessions with all sections of the community to help transform their view of communication and relationships.
We find our support is heard and understood and with the communities underlying desire for change we are able to make relationships grow.
This demonstrably leads to less abusive consequences, be that corporal punishment or the neglect which stems from giving in to circumstance.
2. ENGAGING: CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE WITH SOCIAL CARE NEEDS
Children and young people have unexpressed thoughts and feelings which play out in challenging behaviours.
They are living with adults who struggle to parent or look after them with care. This is damaging and in many cases abusive.
We connect children and young people in the first instance by using play, the underlying principle of UNCRC article 31, then moving into workshops focusing on understanding their emotions and ability to communicate.
This becomes much more powerful in combination with work in the area of emotional well-being of the community as it feeds on the improvement in relationship and communication with the adults.
Children and young people who have been through our projects feel better equipped emotionally to understand and cope with the challenges of life.
3. EMPOWERING: NON-VIOLENT RESISTANCE AND TOOLS TO SUPPORT CHANGE
Corporal punishment, escalatory relationships and communication, lack of human connection between adults and children and young people can be abusive and damaging but is normalised within the community.
We advocate the use of NVR as it empowers adults to take control of an escalating situation in a way that is not harmful to the child. It reduces escalation, it strengthens relationships, builds communication and has practical tools to manage children and young people's challenging behaviour.
As NVR becomes an effective and embedded cultural norm abusive and disconnected relationship diminishes. This impact is seen as a reduction in harm to children and young people and improvement in emotional wellbeing for all in the society.