Abandoned and unaccompanied children of Refugees and Immigrant parents at our doors
One of the organisation’s key focus areas is to ensure that each child grows up in a family with love and care. Where children do not have traceable family, we create for them a family where we provide them with care in our traditional SOS families or place them with foster care families. We believe that all children’s right to a safe and healthy existence should be respected. Now Child Rights cut across and remain the same irrespective of the child’s origin. This means that all children have to enjoy theequal right to be cared for wherever they are. It is in this spirit that SOS CV SA finds it difficult to ignore children of foreign origin, while we care for children of South African origin. For example, in practicing Ubuntu as a mother you would never single out your own children and give them food in full view of other children in their company. If you do not have enough and knowing that there is food where they come from, you would send them home before you feed your own children.
Just like other children of South African origin, children of foreign origin who get abandoned and neglected by parents and those who suffer abuse by parents, need care. Some children move across the continent looking for opportunities to improve their economic or educational situation, which sometimes ends in abject poverty. Some children flee their countries because their lives are affected by generalised human rights violations, violence, family abuse, exploitation, trafficking or even poverty. These children may be identified within communities that SOS service, as needy. Recently, we have experienced children in our care who, because of being children of refugees, though being abandoned and suffering neglect while living in poor conditions; cannot be covered by the Children’s Act.
As part of the solution to this problem of abandoned and unaccompanied children of Refugees and Immigrant parents at our doors, SOS seeks to partner with the state or other stakeholders in:
• Caring for the children whilst the families of the abandoned children are being traced,
• Ensuring that refugee parents in South Africa are included in programmes that will empower them to be able to care for their children and
• Re-uniting these children with their biological families whether they are in South Africa or in their countries of origin if they don’t risk persecution or inhuman treatment in their countries.