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Kinship care in a refugee camp – the voices of kinship carers

In this video you will hear from kinship carers who live in Hitsats refugee camp in Ethiopia.
I am looking after my brother’s children. They are young and I am making sure they don’t make poor choices in their life due to lack of a guardian. I am happy to do this as I am protecting them from making bad decisions. I am looking after a child I have a blood relationship with and another one that I am not related to. I have with me my nephew, brother and another child who I have no blood relationship with. I choose to look after them out of personal conviction. I believe I can offer them better care than them living on their own at the community centre.
I am happy to do this and the children I am looking after are very disciplined and respectful. I also believe this will be in their best interest for now and help build a bright future for them. I am raising them just like a father or a mother would. We look out for each other. I want to protect them from running into any problems and they do the same. I am very happy to do that.
My name is Tesfahiwot Tsegay I am looking after my brother-in-law. He is my wife’s brother. I am doing this to protect him from making poor choices in life and to help him think more clearly about things. I am happy to do this.
I am looking after my brother and cousin. Children who live here on their own could grow up without a parent as opposed to growing up with someone has the skills to raise them properly. I brought them with me to raise them so that they can grow up with a real sense of family and a strong foundation so that they attend school. I am happy to look after them and thrilled to know that they are growing with this firm foundation. I am raising my niece. I am pleased to look after her. I raised her since she was three months old. I am pleased to be here today.
The children I am looking after are not my blood-related relatives. However, I am doing this out of compassion, as I believe that they may benefit from being with family rather than being raised alone. I’m looking after two boys and a girl. I am doing this because it will be in their best interest to be with me, and they are in good hands. My name is Temesghen Maka, from zone D. I am currently looking after two children. I have a blood relationship with the one but no blood relationship with the second one. The one that I am related to is my nephew and the second one is my sister-in-law’s son. I am happy to look after them and care for them.
The reason why I am doing this is because it will be in their best interest if they are raised in a family setting rather than in community care, where they could learn harmful things and make poor choices because of this.

In this video you will hear from kinship carers who live in Hitsats refugee camp in the district of Shire, in Northern Ethiopia. They tell us why they are happy to be offering kinship care.

There are many children around the world who are in safe and caring kinship placements. However, there have also been documented protection concerns for some children in kinship care. This means a national child protection system should have the capacity to monitor all children who may be vulnerable.

The UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children describe kinship care as ’family-based care within the child’s extended family or with close friends of the family known to the child, whether formal or informal in nature’.

The Guidelines also advise:

‘Recognizing that, in most countries, the majority of children without parental care are looked after informally by relatives or others, States should seek to devise appropriate means, consistent with the present Guidelines, to ensure their welfare and protection while in such informal care arrangements, with due respect for cultural, economic, gender and religious differences and practices that do not conflict with the rights and best interests of the child.’
Furthermore we should note:
‘With regard to informal care arrangements for the child, whether within the extended family, with friends or with other parties, States should, where appropriate, encourage such carers to notify the competent authorities accordingly so that they and the child may receive any necessary financial and other support that would promote the child’s welfare and protection. Where possible and appropriate, States should encourage and enable informal caregivers, with the consent of the child and parents concerned, to formalize the care arrangement after a suitable lapse of time, to the extent that the arrangement has proved to be in the best interests of the child to date and is expected to continue in the foreseeable future.’

As the family reunification and placement of children in kinship care in the Hitsats camp is being organised by an officially appointed organisation – in this case the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) – this is formally arranged kinship care.

You have previously seen some of these kinship carers in course step 4.15. They were attending a training session provided by the Norwegian Refugee Council.

We have the opportunity to hear more about the kinship programme in Hitsats camp in the next course step.

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Caring for Children Moving Alone: Protecting Unaccompanied and Separated Children

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