Three Years Project of Assistance to the Children of an Orphanage

Project location: ETHIOPIA, Addis Ababa
Project start date: June 2011 - Project end date: August 2012
Project number: 2009-47
Beneficiary: Love and Shine - Onlus

The final aim of the Association is to help create healthy individuals who will contribute to their society. A Positive self-image can be achieved through nurturing. If these children never experience this, we can safely assume that they will never grow up to be what their human potential would have allowed. The goal of this project, which received a grant from the Nando Peretti Foundation,  is to give them this chance.
The association wants to make the orphanage a warmer and happier place for the children where they can develop their identity and sustain the overburdened nuns in their attempt to raise the children. Especially for those who have special needs as children with mental and physical handicaps i.e. hydrocephalic, blind, children with amputations, HIV positive, etc.

Working in Addis Ababa for an English NGO the association visited other orphanages, one of them was the Kidane Meheret Children´s Home run by three Franciscan Sisters of "The Heart Of Jesus" (established in Addis Ababa since 1981). They host over 200 children ages 0 to 18, one third of them are HIV positive. The orphanage has a big nursery and numerous children with special needs. Some of them go for adoption and the others remain until they turn 18. The children are given BASIC care by the employees who are way too few to truly attend to the the children´s psychological and physical needs being overburdened with the task to create a sense of attachment. In the theory of the attachment - concept, by Bowlby, it is proven that without the security of attachment the human being can not succeed to evolve and develop himself and can literally die psychologically and physically.

The Love and Shine Onlus has been established in order to provide psychological, emotional, and physical aid to abandoned children from the ages of 0 to 12 whom suffer various forms of mental or physical challenges. Our scope is to provide social workers to stimulate verbally and physically and emotionally to children otherwise left in isolation.
It should be an essential right of each and every human being to receive human affection and warmth in their childhood through a reliable caregiver. All psychologists underline the extreme importance of receiving physical and psychological attention in order to develop a healthy personality. The lack of love and care in early childhood provokes severe damage to the individual and causes psycho-pathological problems. The disposition to love, to trust, to hope, to be grateful and the joy of existing and love for life, all depend on the amount of love and attention received as a child.
The Foundations´ goals are to help neglected, abandoned children to develop a healthy and strong personality through the assistance and care provided by a properly trained caregiver i.e. social worker.
The project consists in creating small groups of children of the same age (6-10), taken care by one specific caretaker who should symbolize the mother figure. The children should find a nucleus in their group referring to their caretaker as a stable person to rely on in their childhood. The latter will stimulate (interactive play, listening, music, socializing) and accompany the healthy growth of these children by being available and taking over the role of parenting.
The project will be completed in the following manner:
- Selection of the local social workers and psychiatrists (to give guidance to caretakers) with references and professional degrees (they will be selected by association and the sisters).
- Purchase of all didactic materials suggested by Prof.Cantelmi president of the AIPPC (Associazione Italiana Psicologi e Psichiatri Cattolici) .
- Prof. Cantelmi, will send a team of specialized psychiatrists to train the local social workers (caretakers) and give them support.
- The children will be divided in groups (considering special needs divided into different sized groups).
- Biannual goals for the individual groups will be defined by Prof. Cantelmi and his team.
- Biannual control by the association through visits

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