For Abas, a young man living on the outskirts of Kampala, life has been a series of ups and downs. His formal schooling ended early when his father, his only caregiver, was unable to pay school fees.
Abas found casual employment, but he was cheated out of earned wages by his employers.In his teen years, Abas was arrested and detained in a juvenile facility. Surprisingly, this proved to be a positive learning experience. He explained, “The period I spent there was enough to open up my eyes to the real world and changed my life and outlook on things.” He received life skills training, counseling and legal assistance, as well as catch-up classes beyond his fifth-grade education.
These services were provided by the Companionship of Works Association, a local nongovernmental organization participating in the Family Resilience (FARE) project. FARE addresses family-child separation by helping children who are living on the streets or are in the justice system return to and remain with their families. FARE also works to prevent family-child separation in families where the risk of losing children to the streets seems to be high. It is part of FHI 360’s Accelerating Strategies for Practical Innovation and Research in Economic Strengthening (ASPIRES) project, which partners with the AVSI Foundation and is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
Children who are not cared for by family members are more likely to be neglected, abused and exploited. They are also more vulnerable to health and behavioral problems and can face challenges in developing relationships, a sense of identity and self-esteem. Poverty is a significant driver of family-child separation. The FARE project operates on the theory that a combination of case management, household economic and livelihood strengthening, and social support will stabilize highly vulnerable households, make the return of separated children to family care feasible and prevent future family disintegration.
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