October 2019 Zimpeto Child Reintegration Program Update
Reintegration has come a long way since its inception over 15 years ago. Thanks to the support of IMC we have an excellent team, a car (which we could not do home visits without), money to build houses and enable children to be reunited with family, and a process to provide families with small business ventures.
Reintegration has enabled vulnerable children to be rescued from complex home situations and take time in the centre to rehabilitate, as well as empowering families to become independent and equipped to receive the children back into their homes. While the majority of children are successfully reintegrated back with families within less than five years, occasionally a reintegration is unsuccessful.
We recently had a situation with a young boy who we will call James.
James was referred to us through social welfare because his mother was serving time in the Maputo prison. James had previously lived with his mother in the prison for over three years, but because he was school age he was referred to our centre (so that he would be able to live outside of the prison).
Three years later James’ mother had served her sentence and was very keen to have James returned to her care. She intended to return to her family home in a city 900 kms north of us.
Our centre arranged bus tickets and essentials for her and James to make a new start. Normally we make regular visits to reintegrated children, but because they were moving away from Maputo we were unable to follow up on his progress. Two years after his reintegration, James was found selling goods on the streets of Maputo. James was not attending school, he appeared uncared for, his mother had not returned to her home city and she was living with a former inmate. An investigation was made by our team, and in discussion with social welfare it was decided James would return to the centre.
James has now been back with us for six weeks; he is eating three meals a day, attending school regularly, and is no longer living a vulnerable life. These situations are few and are very disappointing for us. We believe family is the best place for children to grow up in, but when family is dysfunctional the centre can provide a safe place for children to be children. The reintegration team were key in the investigation and return of James to a safe place. Our centre provides children with a happy and healthy life.
Additionally, in May we received the most delicious 8 month old twins, both significantly malnourished and neglected, with complicated social situations. One twin has a chronic illness and both were highly vulnerable. We accepted the twins and they were immediately loved by our Zimpeto family and totally doted on! They responded positively by a weekly weight increase of approximately 400 grams until they rapidly reached a normal chubby weight for babies their age. They have caught up with their milestones and are keen
to walk. We don’t know their future, but they will be well loved by us until their family is able to receive them back home.
Thank you IMC for partnering with us to keep children safe.