Social work at Upendo Daima
Social work at Upendo Daima
Back Home House (BHH) is a centre which works with vulnerable children working and living on streets. The goal is to reunify these children with their families. Below you will find a summary of two activities done by (street work and home visits) and challenges faced by social work. For more detailed information, please refer to attached report.
BHH Social Workers (SWs) visit Mwanza City streets twice a week (one time during the day and one time at night). Children live most of their time in areas where they can get something for their daily livelihood, and this is where the SW’s go to talk to them.
Street children have a perception that they are isolated by the community. They have experienced various discriminative actions from their parents/relatives/adults. Sometimes they have lost trust in adults. Therefore it is very important that the SWs establish a relationship of trust with them. Sometimes it is not easy because some of the children are addicted to street life. These have already moved to various cities and towns in Tanzania and have been abused in various ways. SWs take the children who are ready to go back home to BHH for a temporal stay and full counselling. Others who are not ready are left on streets but further meetings with them in next days continue.
All children take to BHH must be registered at Government offices. All children are also registered in BHH in the roll call book and on intake and basic information forms. Getting the basic information of the children is the initial step for counselling process in BHH.
Street work is among the most challenging activities for SWs. SWs face many challenges on streets, such as:
- children being addicted to street life (and using drugs or sniffing glue or petrol)
- children being used by adults to generate income (short term promises make the child blind for the future)
- the negative perception of people towards street children
- the physical and sexual abuse by the older children of the younger children
- police raids, as a result of which the children hide
- during school holidays many children end up on the street, either by themselves or because their family sends them to make some money, it is then difficult to distinguish them from the real street children
After counselling, when the child is ready to go home, home visits are performed by SWs, usually the child accompanies the SW on this visit. There will be a discussion on whether it is possible for the child to go home. If a child is reunited follow up visits will be done. If a child cannot return home (because the parents refuse or the home situation is deemed not adequate) he will come back to BHH and further counselling will be done, also with the family, and attempts are made to identify possible other relatives where the child could stay. If no possibility, the child will be moved to Malimbe Family, where he can attend formal schooling. Even while at Malimbe Family, every effort is made to reintegrate the child with his family.
Challenges faced with home visits:
- sometimes the child does not tell the truth where he comes from
- many children come from rural areas far away from main roads, so it is very difficult to reach their house
- Children come often from one-parent households, whereby the new partner does not like to take care of children from a previous partner. If the child is orphaned it becomes even more difficult.
- Substance abuse by the parent(s)
- Local taboos in some tribes
For some case studies, please refer to attached report.