Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Logistics of Going Back Home

After my most recent post 'The Dream Home', one reader came up with a very valid question.. 'Will the children who have gone home be monitored to make sure that all is well?' This made me realize that I may not have gone into enough detail about how Honour Village supports and monitors the children who return home.

First of all, regarding the above question, the answer is a resounding 'Yes!'. Honour Village social workers will be making monthly visits to monitor the children's progress and well-being. To ensure that the child is truly happy and safe, he/she will also be interviewed privately, without the family present, so there is no fear to tell the truth or coercion to hide anything.  In many cases, the children's homes are in nearby villages and they are still coming to Honour Village for 1/2 day of English and computer classes.  Not only are they able to remain in close contact with their Honour Village 'family', the children know they can approach any staff member or the social workers and ask for help or guidance.

As I mentioned earlier, Honour Village has two permanent social workers on staff, and currently also has two volunteer social workers.  All four are working feverishly to complete the initial family visits to determine whether the children can go home, assuming all the criteria are met.  With 50 children currently housed at Honour Village, these initial visits and reports represent a monumental task!  The two volunteer social workers couldn't have come at a better time!

Remembering that a lot of these children came to at Honour Village because their families were simply too poor to care for them, the assessment also determines the financial status of the family and what can be done to assist them as they take on the responsibility of caring for more children. In some cases, Honour Village may provide rice for the family: in other cases, they might buy chickens, or a pig which will produce piglets, providing an income and food. In one case, Honour Village has purchased a fishing net, giving the family a new livelihood. One thing they do not do is directly give the family money. Sometimes the family has gotten into debt by borrowing money at horribly inflated interest rates, and are barely struggling to pay the interest, saddling them with a lifetime of debt and no way out. If Honour Village pays off the loan instead of giving the family rice, the family now has enough money to buy rice and support the child. It's a win-win situation.  

When the child leaves, he/she takes home all the belongings they had at Honour Village plus toiletries and are given a new kit of clothing, which also eases the burden on the family. To make it easier for one boy to study at home, Gordon is in the process of making him a desk. It's comforting to know the staff and volunteers at Honour Village are committed to doing their best to help these children succeed and live normal happy lives.

One of the happiest moments for me happened recently at the Honour Village children's Christmas party a couple of weeks ago.  One boy who had just been repatriated proudly introduced me to his little brother and his grandmother. He told me there are ten children in his family, and  I could see by his expression how happy he was to be back with them. No matter what, there's nothing like having a real family. 


  1. What an amazing concept - and well done to the people who set it up and continue to follow through.

  2. Thanks, Dodie, for the extra information. And well done Gordon for making the desk!