If you’ve watched The Love You Give, you’ll recognise Peter Kamau and his gorgeous son Jedd, who featured in this docustory about orphanages.
Following the death of his parents and separation from his siblings, Peter was raised in an institution in Kenya. The experience had such a profound effect on him that he co-founded Child In Family Focus, an organisation which champions family based care for orphaned and vulnerable children. Even though Kenya now has a moratorium on the registration of new residential care institutions, the country remains one of the most popular destinations for orphanage volunteers.
Peter’s message to people who want to support children in Kenya is not to volunteer in an orphanage but to direct efforts in ways that will help to alleviate poverty,keep families together and support alternative family care placements for abandoned children whose families or origin are unknown and cannot be traced.
As he explains in The Love You Give, the main reason for children to be placed in an orphanage is poverty with parents struggling to make ends meet. Even for a child whose parents are deceased, there are often relatives who could care for the child, enabling them to stay in their own communities, rather than a childhood spent in institutional care.
“Families need to be empowered so that they can sustainably care for their children,” says Peter.
Peter’s work with Child in Family Focus is concentrated on reducing Kenya’s reliance on institutional care, working with the Government Department of Children’s Services and other child protection stakeholders to encourage the use of family-based care options such as kinship care, foster care and adoption.
Find out more about Child in Family Focus.