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Family reintegration (Part 2)

Video featuring Simriti Khadaka on family reintegration
Please can you tell me about the work of your organisation and the children and young people that you work with? Our organisation basically focus for the children of mothers who have a history of trafficking, or the mothers who are living with HIV/AIDS, or the mothers who have survived severe domestic violence and have left their home with their children in search of safety and a better future for the family. So basically we work with that group. We work in both setting. One, we have got residential place, and then we support the mother in the community. And as soon as we feel that mothers have a stable source of income, we try to send the children back with the mother.
Please can you tell me about the reintegration process? When we’re taking the child, that gives us time to understand the family well, to work with the mother and support the mother in both ways, like emotionally, socially, and also economically. And then we try to reintegrate the child. And to get that at that time, we also work with the children, why it is important to be with the mother in the community. So yeah, we work on both the side with the children when they are with us in our residential care, and also with the mother when she is in the community.
And also in between that time, we try to keep the contact between the mother and child as much as possible. Is reintegration a complex process?
Many after a time, mother feels that the child is safe in our organisation, because they provide better physical care. They don’t understand how it will impact in future in their relationship or in their attachment. And also for younger children, they seek the closeness of the family. But then when they are a little bit older, it’s better for them to live in a group. They want that security that they have got family, but also they want the living off the group as well. Yeah, and sometimes after reintegrating, even if it is only– we say it is for a year. But then before coming to us, some families, they were already separated.
So although they stay with us for one or two years, they have been maybe already separated for more than that. So both of them have their own way of life, like own way of dealing with the problem. So after reintegrating to develop their relationship, that bonding, it is a challenge, especially when children are a little bit older. Like teenagers already, they think like they are capable of looking after themselves. But then living somewhere else and coming back into the family, we have to work a lot on building relationships between the families as well. Do you think reintegration is more complex because of the difficult situations that children have been in?
If the mother was trafficked when she was young, that has some issue in some cases, like we are working with this family for the last eight years, but still we are supporting because mother needs equal support in parenting and also in other forms like so much trauma to deal within herself. So it needs long term support. That is our big challenge as well. Although we started working only from 2008, there are still a few families who we are still providing support. And most of them are trafficking cases. If they are separated for a long time, that attachment is lost. But still however they are, they are their mother, they are their father, you know? They are their mother.
So there is also, like when we did one group session, a boy of nine years old, he said he has to protect his mother and sister. So there is that sense of responsibility as well, as young as nine. So we think like we are doing good by keeping them with us, like providing support. But then there is so much longingness to be with the mother as well. They want that security of, they will get good education, you know? That part is there.

In this video, we hear from Simriti Khadaka who works with an NGO in Nepal. Simriti is Country Director at the non-governmental organisation (NGO), Asha Nepal in Kathmandu. The team at Asha Nepal work with families who, due to a range of reasons including sexual exploitation of mothers or children, are at risk of being or, have been, separated.

Simriti tells us about the work her NGO undertakes with children who have been separated from their families. She explains about the time and care needed to ensure the reintegration process so that a child is returned to a safe and caring environment and how sometimes it is necessary to rebuild relationships between the child and their family.

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Getting Care Right for All Children: Implementing the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children

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