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Kaeme Winter Internship

Apply for our first ever Winter Internship! If interested, please send a cover letter and resume to kaeme.foundation@gmail.com



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Why We Help



Global Orphaned and Vulnerable Child Population

In 2005, there were an estimated 143 million orphans worldwide, a number that has been steadily growing. While natural disaster, poverty, disease, and political conflict were primary causes of this crisis, the HIV/AIDS epidemic is largely responsible for current increases in the orphaned youth population. Nowhere is this trend more alarming than in Africa where, according to data from 2003, HIV/AIDS has torn 15 million children from their families. That number is expected to rise to 20 million by 2010.

GlobalovcpiceditIn addition to orphans, hundreds of millions of vulnerable children are in need. They frequently live without the guardianship of a primary caregiver. Socioeconomic constraints often deny these children access to a loving, stable, and protective childhood environment; as a result, they are at a higher risk of poverty, malnutrition, illness, exploitation, and physical and psychological harm than other children. At Kaeme, we seek to help these at-risk children find safe, loving homes. As the population of orphans and vulnerable children grows, finding a successful model to address this issue is critical. Kaeme will be part of this solution.

Ghanaian Orphaned and Vulnerable Child Population

TwogirlspiceditIn 2005 an estimated 237,000 orphans lived in Ghana, along with thousands of vulnerable children. About 134,000 of these children were receiving some kind of support, while the other 103,000 children still remained outside of some type of care system. In 2010, it is estimated that there are over 263,000 orphans. Recent surveys conducted by the DSW estimate that over 90 percent of these children have families whom they could live with but cannot do so because certain barriers and lack of resources make institutional care more favorable (school, food, clothing, etc.).

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OVC Defined

According to a commonly accepted definition from UNAIDS, an “orphan” is a child under 15 who has lost his or her mother (maternal ‘single orphan’) or both parents (a ‘double orphan’). The majority of cultures extend this definition to include children who have lost a father, have no acting parents due to abandonment, or have parents who are unable to provide proper care.

The concept of “vulnerable children” includes these and other at-risk populations that may not meet some technical definitions of orphan. Children can be made vulnerable by a range of individual, family and community factors, including the lack of a capable adult caregiver, medical problems, or sub-standard living conditions. The most basic definition of a vulnerable child is one who has little or no access to basic needs and rights (see below). Thus, the term “Orphaned and Vulnerable Children” describes the population of children without caregivers. Kaeme considers all orphanage-housed children to be OVC and in need of our care and assistance.



Institutionalized Care

The Problem with Institutionalized Care

GhanaOVCpicExperts have long agreed that the best place for a child to grow up is in a normal family setting with his or her own biological parents. So, what happens when a family is unable or unwilling to appropriately provide for the child?

For years, the answer was to place children into orphanages and other institutional homes to care for them in group settings. Since the early 1940s and 1950s, however, researchers and experts on child development have disagreed with this tactic as studies have emerged showing the negative effects of institutional care.

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Brain Development

Children need to grow up, especially during early years, in a family-like environment. Growing up in an institutional setting fails to meet children’s biological, emotional and psychological needs. For instance, brain development in institutionalized infants is slower and occurs at a generally lower level because of the reduced stimulation and caregiver interaction. As a result, institutionalized children often miss key development milestones. The lack of a single, consistent primary caregiver can also translate into bonding and attachment disorders and future parenting difficulties. Institutionalized care can also stigmatize children, encourage bullying, limit contact with family and friends, and provide inconsistent care due to staff turnover. As a result, children experience little stability in their early lives.

Cost Effectiveness

artworkeditInstitutionalized care is also highly cost-inefficient — it is generally 5 to 10 times more expensive than foster or other family-based care. In 1992, World Bank conducted a study that found that the cost ratio of family-based care to institutional care was about 1:6. Several other studies found ratios ranging from 1:20 to 1:100. As a result, many nations have committed to stopping the construction of new institutions, encouraging family-based care, and more closely monitoring OVC populations. In Ghana, children will be evaluated by the Department of Social Wellfare who will determine if they are to be returned to their families or placed in other family-based care. Existing orphanages will be re-purposed to function as community centers, daycare centers, schools, etc. so that thet can continue to serve the OVC population and the surrounding communities, while children can grow up in family settings.



Alternative Care Options

WhyWeHelp AlternativeCare2A range of alternative care options exists that may better serve the best interests of a child. Options range from legal adoption to formal and informal fostering to child-headed homes. Innovative institutional solutions have even included restricting orphanages as “villages” where caregivers and multi-aged children live together as a family unit. While some solutions fail to achieve the ideal permanency of care, many of these choices provide a child with a family-like setting.

Kaeme gathers the information required for the DSW to identify the best option for each child. Many children may find homes with extended family. Others may be welcomed into foster homes. Still other children may be placed with an adoptive family, either domestically or abroad. At the very least, all children with Kaeme profiles will benefit from increased attention and recognition of their need, which will prevent abuse, neglect and exploitation. We believe that Kaeme and our government partners can make a meaningful impact on these young lives.