Heaven Homes is a non-profit organisation and their key aim is: To provide holistic care in their Children's Homes, Learning and Medical Centres to rebuild communities; They aim to meet the fundamental needs of their beneficiaries, by empowering them spiritually, physically, socially and emotionally.
The journey towards this vision has been long and arduous, but this has only reinforced their passion to see every child - boy and girl, experience childhood. They aim to create opportunities which value their children as individuals, encouraging creativity and positioning them as future leaders to rebuild a broken nation.
Heaven Homes works with other agencies in Sierra Leone to identify and provide housing for children who have lost their parents, and/or are assessed as vulnerable. The range of issues facing the child population in Sierra Leone is diverse; however homelessness is seen as one of the most pressing at the moment. An unsettled child would find it difficult to adjust to any other form of long-term intervention.
They discourage the use of the word 'orphanage' to describe their Homes as they feel this encourages labelling and attaches a stigma to already vulnerable children. They aim to encourage each child to grow up in a safe environment which would nurture him/her to their full potential.
They provide an all-inclusive care supervised by a home parent/s to provide care and supervision. Their facilities are available to all children who fall within the selection criteria, inclusive of those with special educational needs and disabilities.
Where a child with identified special needs is placed the number of children allocated to the family unit is adjusted accordingly, to take into account time/extra resources needed to allow for an effective and more intensive care plan.
They currently have fifty-eight(58) children in their Heaven Homes family, fifty-six of whom lost their parents to ebola in the recent epidemic. Their first two children, Hannah and Foday have been in their care since 2013, and their progress demonstrates that with the right care, environment and nurturing, a child can thrive outside the conventional family unit.
Education at its best should be holistic and provide an environment which encourages imagination, creativity and learning. They aim to promote this in the United Kingdom, Sierra Leone and in partnership with other organisations worldwide.
In Sierra Leone the progressive decline in educational access and standards has been well documented; however there is no evidence to suggest that remedial action is being taken. Despite the increase in school enrolment since the end of the 10year civil war, almost 40% of children of primary school age are not going to school. These figures are mostly evidenced in the rural areas where poverty and deprivation continue to mark the social landscape.
Their school is also used as a Learning Centre for adult education programmes, mother and toddler groups; the latter aimed at promoting a therapeutic environment for mother and child to bond through play and education.
The Centre structure also includes mentoring schemes, the main purpose of which is to enhance traditional community values, and encourage an effective Home - Centre partnerships
Their Global Citizenship programme has also been implemented in the UK. They deliver workshops and presentations to schools and colleges to highlight the issues facing other children globally. There have been positive responses to these workshops and they are ‘all the time’ inviting schools to join this partnership.
Where is Heaven Homes