Psycho-Social Empowerment Key For Care Leavers’ Societal Reintegration

Kennedy Muthoka
Conference Illustration
It’s easier to build strong children than repair broken men (Frederick Douglass)

The reintegration conference and exhibition gave participants a whale of a time. The conference was very educative with practical and meticulous ideas. It was hoped that the ideas shared, would provide the society with strategies to assist youth and children leaving institutional care ease the burden of reintegration. The main aim being to help these youth returning to the original rut of poverty that led to their institutionalization not to dispair or indulge in crime but use the skills they have gotten to curve out hope and lead a satisfying life.

The long awaited conference commenced on 23rd October 2014 at 8:00 on a chilly, drizzling morning with a prayer, to 24th October 2014. The partners were KARDS, Amani, MIUC, Koinonia, Caritas Italiana, Undugu Society, Apostles of Jesus, Evangelizing Sisters of Mary, ISMM Tangaza University College, KOBWA, KESCA, IDAY, CAFASO, Shepherd, Africa Sanaelimu Ensemble (ASAE), Banjuka Artists and Radio Mtaani.

Psycho-social empowerment was a pivotal element to reintegration rendering it very essential to the up-bringing of the children. Volunteers should work with kids but not for the kids like servants to help them develop, guide them, visit churches, market, museums, educational and social forums e.t.c. Capacity building of the people leaving with the children is also crucial.

Where possible institutions should embrace family care, employing self sufficiency family skills similar to those implemented in homes e.g. doing your own laundry, cleaning rooms, personal organization, admirable curtsey, care for each other (brother’s keeper). Some institutions do most things for the children thus kids don’t grasp certain expertise rendering them too dependent, preparation for exit should commence early e.g. job placement, vocational training.

The Conference Poster

The conference poster gave a a full story of the care leaver from time of joining the home to the time of disengagement. It shows C.C.I’s benevolent help towards our society and colossal positive benefits it brings also in relation to the saying “it takes a village to raise a child”, hence not only helping children but improving communities overall economical, social and spiritual standards. Accordingly the poster went further to explains the different paths a child leaving care would take depending on decisions they make, whence they come from might have being influenced by people around them, making C.C.I’s a critical moment in their life’s thus with proper influence on them results would be prosperous.

The luggage on their backs represents all the pain, suffering, fears, torture they’ve gone through either physical or psychological as they head towards these institutions where rehabilitation occurs. On the consolation side cheering represents their victories, accolades and success in life, a house shows family warmth and joy. Palm trees represent happiness and making merry, birds are a sign of peace with the warm clouds and bright colors. The skyscraper and plane put emphasis on success in the cooperate world and crescendo in life

Desolation is its contrasting side. It’s a display of brutality, savagery that comes with this realm of ferocity. Dark colors show less than a pleasant environment and dark skies, makeshift house is a representation of poverty, jail and police is presence of the law. The grave is a representation of dying inside when you are still alive, lack of hope, self drive and will to live. The boy and girl are high on illegal substance and it’s basically end game for them as the law catches up with their insolent criminal lives.

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