what is the kesho leo social welfare program?
The Kesho Leo Community Social Welfare Program aims to promote social wellbeing for vulnerable women, their children and orphaned children who live at Kesho Leo children’s village and those in the local community. From a social ecological perspective, social wellbeing incorporates a variety of factors of one’s life, including personal safety and security, mental wellbeing, self confidence, access to education and health, supportive families and inclusion as part of a community. Through the provision of evidence based programs and support aimed at strengthening families and communities, as well as individual’s protective factors.
what do we do?
To promote social wellbeing, we deliver a variety of evidence based programs that promote protective factors within the Sinoni community. We have developed an integrated framework for supporting our mamas, children and greater community.
All programs delivered at Kesho Leo are designed according to the action learning cycle. This cycle incorporates learning for both participants of the programs and the facilitators- for example, already mamas have been teaching us about their lives, their culture and values and about being positive, strong women. In turn, we are able to share our knowledge about supporting children to reach developmental milestones.
Social skilling are important for all of us in a community to have. As well as this, it is important that children build self-reliance, the ability to work effectively as a team and rely on one another. This is an integral part of living in any developing country but also of living in a large group (yep, a children's village, say!). That's why we have developed an integrated framework for supporting our mamas, children and greater community.
opportunities for kesho leo house mamas
When selecting our qualified mamas, we specifically looked for awesome women who love their children and make exceptional mamas. We also employed mamas based on the amazing strength they had displayed in their own lives- women who were survivors! For example, we have employed single mamas that did not have a financial income source but were still put their children’s needs first; or mamas who had realised it was safer to bring their children up without a father. These are incredible women who have been through a lot of hardship, and their knowledge, skills and experience made them invaluable to Kesho Leo, Kesho Leo children and the greater Sinon community. Already mamas have been teaching us about their lives, their culture and values and about being positive, strong women. In turn, we are able to share our knowledge about supporting children to reach developmental milestones. We do this through providing the following support for our mamas:
- Mamas participate in psychology classes. Through this, they learn concepts that support family cohesion and child development such as attachment theory, brain development and how to teach stress coping mechanisms to Kesho Leo children, etc.
- Mamas also benefit from health classes that teach mamas how to monitor their children's health and respond to their needs.
- Mamas are taught small business skills and practice, so that they can contribute to the sustainable running of Kesho Leo and also have these skills for the future. These skills have already greatly increased mama's self esteem and confidence.
providing opportunities for kesho leo children
fws also recognises that being an orphan can mean having survived some major traumatic experiences. For example, some children of Kesho Leo have lost family members to HIV/AIDS. We also know that introducing new family members into families can be a time of change for everyone. We believe it’s essential to provide appropriate support to deal with such experiences.
For children, fws provides the following support:
- For each child at Kesho Leo we complete a pscyho-social assessment and develop an individually suited case plan to ensure Kesho Leo children have access to all civil, political, developmental and support services available. We do this because we believe it takes a community to raise a child. We want to make sure Kesho Leo children are engaged in their community and have access to all possible supports to succeed in life.
- Children will shortly begin participating in weekly group discussions aimed to teach general development and leadership skills. Topics covered will include managing emotions, working with our individual strengths and weaknesses, boosting self-esteem and negotiating fairly will be incorporated into the children's learning program. Our social welfare team who have qualifications and experience in this area will be delivering the "social skills" program at the same rime as training local teachers to see it through.
- We have a Code of Conduct and a Child Protection Policy that all staff, residents and guest are required to abide by to promote the safety and protection of children at Kesho Leo.
- In 2010 we are trialing a boys group for our young boys who live at Kesho Leo. Whilst our mamas do a fantastic job caring for all our children, we also acknowledge that it is important to have male role models for our boys to learn from. The boys program will provide mentoring and opportunities for young boys at Kesho Leo and provide important cultural 'gender role' learning.
- We have a social welfare manager to provide case management services to each family to make sure they are getting access to services they need and we are supporting protective factors. This includes providing individual counselling where required and networking Kesho Leo mamas and children in with other community supports where needed.
fws are very aware that we are part of a bigger community- that of Sinon, Arusha. Therefore, we offer programs to support the wider community as well.
- fws offers community education weekends so that our neighbours may have access to education and further address the concerns of their local communities. Examples of seminars that have been held so far include workshops on HIV/AIDS education, gender issues and gender roles and farming techniques our neighbours can employ in their backyards.
- fws are keen to get our community outreach program up and running again, which will support families to look after their children at home. This is a vital part of ensuring that children are well cared for at home and reduce the risk of them being orphaned.
- fws is currently investigating how we can develop a micro finance program that will support the Sinon community to develop small businesses and initiatives.
These are just a few ways which we work to ensure everyone's social welfare and developmental needs are met at Kesho Leo. We are continually looking at how we can improve opportunities for all community members.
who is on the team?
At Kesho Leo, the fws social welfare program is led by a dedicated full-time volunteer with support from the entire team at Kesho Leo, including Tanzanian counterparts who are developing their social welfare skills through peer learning. Our social welfare team works particularly closely with the education and health volunteers to provide a holistic program for Kesho Leo residents.
The fws social welfare program is managed by Loretta Crombie, who is an Australian social welfare manager. Loretta is a social worker who’s experience has focussed in youth and families support. Kelsey Wilson is a consultant for the social welfare team who provide psychology and community engagement advice. Kelsey is a founding member of fws and has extensive knowledge of Sinoni and Kesho Leo residents. Loretta and Kelsey together in worked in Tanzania during 2009, however Kelsey has had several years previous experience in Sinoni also.
All members of the social welfare team in Australian and Tanzania are volunteers.
how are we funded?
The Kesho Leo Social Welfare Program relies on general income streams from fws, such as donations and fundraisers. We would also welcome directed donations and grants for this particular area of our operations. Our main costs are brokerage costs for referring families to specialist services (such a specialist doctors) and resources for the children’s social welfare program and mens group. If you think you’d like to support us directly and would like some further information, please contact the fws Social Welfare Program manager, Loretta Crombie at Loretta.Crombie@foodwatershelter.org.au.