BUILDING STRONG FAMILIES
Too often, poverty-stricken families seek to place their child in an orphanage because they believe it would be best for their child to be there. After all, in a foreign-supported orphanage, their child will go to school, have plenty of food, clothes and medical care. But God’s Plan A for a child is a family, not an orphanage. How do we help such families or help other families who think that an orphanage would be better even if they don’t have that option?
Orphan Voice’s answer to this question is an 18-month commitment to mentor, train, encourage and, most of all, to help the breadwinner make more money, so that families stay intact. Our program is called Building Strong Families.
Core Elements of a Building Strong Families (BSF) Program
Every two months, all BSF parents, guardians, and sometimes children, meet together for a special Training Day. These training days cover such topics as: What is a Family?; Money Management, Planning and Budgeting; Nutrition, Hygiene and Health; Valuing Children; The Role of Parents and Positive Discipline; Child Rights and Child Protection; Social Skills and Behavior; and Protecting and Enjoying God’s Creation.
Health & Nutrition
Poor health and nutrition can be a direct result of extreme poverty, so BSF is committed to improving
the health and nutrition of all BSF family members in the program. All families take part in training
on nutrition, hygiene, and health, and learn to become and stay healthy. A medical kit with a first aid book and training is provided to each family.
Income Generation Assistance
BSF staff begin by evaluating the existing livelihoods of a new family. Where needed, staff work with the family to develop a business plan that considers the skills and interests of the working adults that aims to generate more income for the welfare of the whole family over 18 months. Assistance is then provided in the form of a small grant or micro-loan to help establish or further develop successful and sustainable livelihoods over time.
It is a BSF goal that within 18 months, each family becomes financially sustainable so they can fully support their own children.
Family Fun Days
Bi-monthly Family Fun Days are schedule alternatively with the Training Days. These are times of fun and fellowship to help families build relationships with each other and with local church partners, volunteers, and BSF staff. It’s amazing how many children don’t get to play. Family Fun Day remedies that problem!
Children in BSF families are able to receive educational assistance in the form of tutoring fees, equipment costs, the cost of school books and even bicycles to get to school.
The BSF program accepts families of any religion and respects their individual right to freely choose their own beliefs. Orphan’s Promise is a Christian faith-based organization, and therefore pastors, staff, and volunteers, may encourage and share the love of God through word and deed with KFT participants.
Strong families are made of strong relationships. Therefore, BSF staff and church leaders take the time to make weekly home visits to each family. These are times to follow-up, mentor, support, love, encourage, and pray.
A Borrowed Cow
Let’s put ourselves in Mrs. Nguyen’s place. For income, she walks the streets, sometimes in pain from spinal degeneration, to collect trash to sell. The social security system provides pain medicine for her, but it doesn’t last the entire month so she is sometimes in pain.
The love of Mrs. Nguyen’s life is her daughter, Thi. Thi is a devoted daughter and excellent student. Her mom, however, is struggling to keep Thi in school.
For more money, Mrs. Nguyen cares for, feeds and houses a borrowed cow. As her wages, she will keep the first born calf. Then she will return the cow. In this way, she feeds herself and her daughter.
Could you or I make ends meet in this way? Would we be forced to place our child in an orphanage due to the difficulties? If we think about her situation, we can at least understand how placing our child in an orphanage might be forced upon us. Would we want that to happen?
No, we wouldn’t! It’s not in Thi’s best interest to live in an orphanage, even a good one.
Orphan Voice wants Mrs. Nguyen’s daughter to grow up with her mother. To that end, we are helping the family with counselling, training, income generation assistance and encouragement. Our Building Strong Families program is an 18 month, intensive program to strengthen this family (and five others) to the point of self-sustainability.