Project Genesis – God’s Disciples actively partners to find solutions to today’s most pressing challenges, working to secure the well-being of the underprivileged.
The number of families living in chronic poverty in urban slums and also in some rural communities continues to increase and, as a result, so does the number of children living in high risk and crisis situations. These families invariably remain beyond the reach of other poverty reduction initiatives and over the last year we have increased our efforts to support them.
We have continued to work through women’s groups to establish self-managed loan funds, create cooperatives and other economic strengthening activities. We have actively promoted participation in parent support groups to encourage changes in parenting attitudes and behaviours, as well as facilitating exposure visits to local service providers to increase parents’ confidence and ability to access services.
In addition, we have continued to educate parents about the importance of having a legal identity and registering their children’s births if they are to be able to access mainstream entitlements. Our increasing knowledge and experience in this area has encouraged us to launch a pilot project to provide targeted therapeutic support to families existing in the worst conditions, with the greatest risk of family breakdown.
PROTECTING CHILDREN FROM ABUSE AND EXPLOITATION
Reducing the number of children working in hazardous labour and reintegrating them with their families and into education remains a major area of focus of our work.
Over the last year, we have improved our approach to identifying and monitoring child labourers and, as a result, we are working with 508 new victims. We have also worked closely with local government and community representatives to develop a common objective to eliminate the employment of children below
14 years of age. A key step to achieving this has been helping to introduce a local government rescue and referral committee which enables the forced removal of any child labourer under 12 years old.
We have significantly increased the scale and quality of withdrawal and reintegration practices, such that all identified working children now have personal risk assessments, and transit accommodation has been established for any children rescued from labour situations.
SUPPORTING DEVELOPMENT AND RESILIENCE
In addition to our continued focus on protecting vulnerable children from abuse and exploitation, we also continue to work to provide the poorest and most excluded children with opportunities for their personal development. In the last year, we opened an additional drop in centre (making a total of nine) where children can access non-formal education, homework clubs and basic health care/awareness.
We worked with 33 government schools to review child progress, reduce discrimination against children from street, working or poor backgrounds and to advocate for the provision of free education. We also increased our direct support to individual families through home visits by social workers to provide support with their children’s education and other essential counselling and advice. The former includes helping to address any learning, attendance, behavioural or health issues faced by children who are enrolled in school and enabling more children to be enrolled by providing books, uniforms and financial support to the very poorest families.
We have also explored alternative and improved pathways into positive employment for young people, and in the past year we were able to deliver vocational/business training and support to almost 100 young people.