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An example of a kinship care programme in a refugee camp

This video shows a kinship care programme in the Hitsats camp in Ethiopia
Has Ferouz started school yet? Yes, she has not started yet. What is the reason? It is hard for me to say, what is causing that, however, she will be here and you will be able to get the answer from her personally. I did mention to her about the languages courses available to her. Did you tell her the service is available here? Yes, I did. All right, how is her health? She is doing fine, overall, apart from the dealing with the changing weather conditions. Adjusting to the weather, right? Yes. Did she go to see a doctor for that? Yes, she did see a doctor and they prescribed a medicine for her. Therefore, she is ok.
How about if we actually want her to learn? As her uncle, what would be your thought on this? We could speak to the teachers and school officials to get her enrolled at the school. Do you believe she will be interested?
I think it would be a great idea. Her concern is that she thinks I will need help at home. For me personally, I think I would be happy to see her go to school in the morning and come back later. I think she is concerned about the distance between here and school. Again, this is my opinion.
Well, I think we will be keen to hear the answers from her own words. However, you are open to the idea of her attending school, right? Of course, I do. I often regret the 14 years I lost here without attending. I don’t wish for her to be without school here.
Perfect, I will consult with my managers and take into consideration other things. Of course, the school had already started and they took half semester exams. I will ask around and speak to the teachers, the management at the school and get back to you soon. Apart from that, is everything okay with you guys?
It is all good. How did you feel after she joined you here? Well, I was very thrilled to see her. I am seeing her after 14 years and I am learning from her about my family. I am sure her presence is helping you cope with missing your family. Yes. Very good, your family is not here, right? Have they traveled out of town? Yes, Awet is out of town. She is out, for now, I will call her in a minute. I will be happy to wait for her. Is there anything else you want to add about her, it could be about her, her health or her education?
I would like to know more about the scope of your work as a social worker. As social workers of IJET, we primary care about the welfare of the child. We focus on her health, well being and access to education. For example, if she requires a referral to see a doctor we will her obtain that. Overall, we focus on her health and her relationship with her career.
I support the idea of her attending school, it will be in her best interest to attend school. I have informed her about the opportunities available to her, like language courses, social work, and IRC.
We expect you to educate her about the different services we provide here as you have lived here for a very long time. I will be visiting here on a regular bases and learn her status. I am ready to speak to her now.
I will have her come to speak to you now. Yes, please do that.
Did you enroll in school yet? Not yet. Why not Ferouz? Well, I had developed a mental health problem while I was in my home country. Because of that, I was unstable here and as a result, I couldn’t enroll in school. Did you attend school in your country? Yes, I did. But, I had to discontinue my education though. So, you had to discontinue education when and moved here. Are you aware that there is a school here? Well, I did not know at first. However, he did tell me about the school you have here but I refused to enroll. He told me his own regrets for not attending school and he encouraged me to do something about it. However, I objected it.
I personally want to encourage you to attend school, given the situation at the camp. Similar to what Dave told you. He said I want my sister to enroll at school instead of just staying at home. How are you doing health wise excluding your mental health problems?
Well, my parents forced me to get married while I was going to school. That caused the mental health problem mentioned early and subsequently, I discontinued my education. Well, you shouldn’t be without the knowledge of the services available here to you. For example, with respect to your ordeal on forced marriage. There is a counseling program from UB. They deal with victims of underage forced marriages and female genital mutilation (Female Circumcision). They can provide you with counseling, I can personally take you there if you wish to go there. Apart from the counseling services they provide, they offer hairdressing and makeup services as well. You can go there and take a shower.
As far as, school goes, they already started and it is the halfway now, they are taking exams, I disclosed that to Dave already. I will have a word with the school and communicate to them you expressed interest to attend school, isn’t that right? I will inquire that and get back to you soon. I see that you want to learn. I will coordinate a plan and speak to the principal of the school and the directors. If they deem that it is too late for you and cannot attend this year. Alternatively, you can start the language course and enroll next year instead. Is there anything else? How is life here?
Life is fine here.
Is there anything you want to add in respect to your health? I was getting very depressed when I lived in my home country. After I moved here Dawit was unhappy on my decisions. He told me they have been waiting here for 13 years to resettle and what was gone happen to me? That further depressed me. I told them that I fled from home because what I happened to me and because of the depression I experienced as a result. However, after I moved here, I sought medical care by going to the clinic and they prescribed medications for me. I am still taking the medication.
Did the medication help? I am stable right now. You don’t need to stress now. You can always visit the counseling group. You will speak to other women who can help you. Sometimes I get depressed here and Dawit steps in and offers to help me. He comforts me and tells me that they are there for me. That is great news and that is helpful. It is great to learn that. Is Awet coming soon? Yes, he is coming soon. For now, I have Dawit next to me. If I don’t feel normal he takes me to see a doctor, I am in good hands here. That is really good. Hi Dave, how are you? I am good, yourself?
I am good. Did you speak to her about the school? I did. She is interested to learn. I will have a word with the school and get back to you guys. I will come to her to personally tell you the answers.
How have you been? What did she say? It is all good. She said she is interested in going to school. I informed her about GB. The services they provide including the hairdressing and the shower services they offer. She can get more information from the ladies who actually work there.
Where at? At GB, you did not know right? No, I didn’t. They recently started offering these services. One can receive free shower and hairdressing services, she can take a friend with her. More importantly, she can receive the counseling service from the ladies there.
NOT AUDIBLE The service is for women only. [laughter]. There are other services as well. For instance, they give out free pads.
How is working with IHS? Can you let me work there? It is good, we can let work for sure. [laughter] Maybe… Quality (Appreciating the coffee brewed by Ferouz)

In course step 2.9 we saw how relatives of unaccompanied and separated children arriving in Ethiopia are identified during the UNHCR registration process. In this video we will meet Ferouz, a young Eritrean refugee who was reunified with her uncle. The family are supported through a kinship care programme managed by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). The family live in Hitsats camp in the district of Shire, Northern Ethiopia. The social worker has a responsibility to regularly review the wellbeing and welfare of Ferouz. During the visit, the social worker discovers Ferouz has not yet started school. This is because of health and other concerns related to Ferouz’s previous experiences. The social worker is able to offer reassurance and provide ways to support Ferouz .

Earlier in the course we considered some of the factors that make an alternative care placement informal or formal. The programme you will see in Hitsats camp is administered by the non-governmental agency Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), with agreement from the Government of Ethiopia. As per the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children, this makes this form of kinship care a formal care setting as it was arranged by an authorised body.

There are many children who are safe and happy in kinship placements. However, it is necessary to pay attention to possible risks. We should not automatically assume that, because children are with family members, they are not being exploited or abused.

This is why social workers should regularly monitor and review the situation of each child carefully. This is also why there should be careful recruitment and training of social workers – case workers – to take on this significant role of supporting and monitoring the situation of children in alternative care – including those in kinship care.

Social workers in Hitsats camp are assigned approximately twenty five families – a combination of foster carers and kinship carers – to support and monitor. They visit each family on a regular basis – at least three times a week. When a social worker visits a kinship family, they review all aspects of the welfare, protection and social and emotional well-being of the child being cared for. The social worker will discuss any concerns, and help the child and the family access a range of services in the camp being delivered in partnership between the Government of Ethiopia, UN agencies and NGOs.

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Caring for Children Moving Alone: Protecting Unaccompanied and Separated Children

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