Monday, October 26, 2015

Sometimes it is not easy to see what is the most appropriate care for a child

I wish to share a challenging subject and those of you who work in care, in orphanages, with orphans, or with very poor families, you are most welcome to share your experience as it would be helpful. My email address is at the end.

Here in Vietnam children who have been orphaned often move in with a living relative if the relative thinks they can afford to look after them. Sometimes they think they can, but they can't, and then they ask for help elsewhere; from local pagodas, the local community groups, neighbors and sometimes the media get involved and ask for help for them.

There are twins we are helping with their education and the media helped raise some money for them and their care. Their uncle cares for them and is a sincerely humble and kind man. He was an orphan and their mother helped care for him when he was young and so he wants to help care for them. He loves them and cares for them like his own children. But he is poor, so the initial help he received through the media has helped with initial costs such as their mothers funeral, but most of it has gone into the bank into accounts set up for the twins for their future.

Sometimes the children are a means to obtain money and the minimal care is given to them, and sometimes they suffer abuse. These carers can end up receiving regular funds from various sources, as everyone feels so sorry for the children. This is true of some orphanages here and carers of orphaned children.

We have a little girl whose parents died from AIDS, but she is unaffected. Granny who is a little 'unstable' is 'caring' for her. Granny is also not completely honest and we do not trust her. She lives in a one room house she had built, which is always dirty, messy and has all the garbage around it that she collects and recycles. The little girl is usually dirty and in filthy clothes. Granny also hits her as we have seen red welts on her. We felt although it is a horrible situation it was better than an orphanage and she is with family, but sometimes after we visit we wonder......

One of the pagodas that refers local families to us has said they would take her and look after her, after they heard this story, but they could only afford to do that if CEF paid for her education. A Vietnamese friend said she would also be happy to bring her up if CEF could pay for her education.

This is a granny who is benefiting from having this child in her care. But is the child benefiting? Should she stay with a granny who uses her and abuses her or should she go some where, where she will be cared for, and not used or abused? We work to keep families together and we have never contemplated taking a child away from their family, so we are torn.

Even if we decide she should be with someone, or people who care for her, respect her and nourish her, granny is unlikely to let go of her as she would lose her benefits.


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