Our programs ensure that all children and youth are protected from risks and abuse and support children to go to school, young people to find gainful employment and families to be able to support their own children. In order to achieve this, we have developed a holistic social integration cycle of projects that are implemented directly or in collaboration with partners to respond in the most effective way to every person’s needs.
Step 1 – Saving Lives
Before we can begin the process of supporting young people to build a better future for themselves, we have to ensure they are OK and have access to all the services and support they need. Often they are in very difficult and dangerous situations, so we have to stabilise their lives with a range of practical support solutions for them.
Teams go 24/7 day and night to where the children and youth are: on the streets, in the slums, in prisons, in drug dens… They provide life-saving services (including harm reduction services when relevant), such as medical care and counseling. The teams also ensure that children and young people know how to protect themselves by providing them with life skills education (drugs, reproductive health, hygiene, personal security, etc).
Centers located in areas where children and youth live or work that provide a safe place for resting, washing, talking and meeting social workers. They also provide specific services based on the needs in each area (harm reduction, day-time dormitories, etc.). Some centers are mobile (buses) and provide services to hard to reach children and youth.
Detoxification & Rehabilitation
Friends-International has developed a holistic drug program for children and youth that includes prevention education, harm reduction, detoxification, rehabilitation/relapse prevention. The medically supported detoxification helps children and youth to withdraw from addictions to various substances (glue, amphetamines, heroin) in specialized centers. Centers that allow children and youth to take time to recover from various traumas with the support of qualified social workers.
Our programs have set up specific groups within communities where an extra level of support is needed, for example where there is alcohol abuse, or in communities living with HIV/AIDS. These groups are facilitated by our staff and they bring people with shared experience together, to foster a community of support and understanding.
Unfortunately there are often times when unforeseen emergencies arise. These can be natural disasters, accidents, or other situations. We have teams who are trained to respond and give the right kind of support for children, youth and families when this occurs.
Step 2 – Building Futures
When we have stabilized their life situation, then we (and they) are ready for the next step – how to best enable them to build a better future. We have a toolbox of approaches ready to help them do just that.
Back to school
Education is vital to building futures, so we provide ‘catch-up’ education and remedial education for children who have been out of school. This happens in our centers, in communities and in schools. We also reintegrate children into school, and ensure that all the support that a family needs to keep their children in school is available to them.
Secure, long term and good employment. These are all things that build stability and confidence in youth, adolescents and adults. Our programs offer vocational training opportunities linked to secure job placements, with extensive follow up, and our Futures project offers employment opportunities and support for entrepreneurship to all.
Working with families
The family is such an important element in our model of work, so our programs work to bring families back together and to keep them together. Our projects provide all the necessary psychosocial support that a family needs, including training and jobs for caretakers and small business startups, with dedicated case managers to help the family rebuild their future.