Alternatives to street Life

uMTHOMBO STREET CHILDREN SA – HOW WE WORK

uMthombo’s team is a fusion of social work professionals, community workers & childcare-trained former street-connected children & youth (with a focus on teenagers).
UMthombo has a unique understanding of the dynamics of the street-connected child experience through its multiple years of involvement.

uMthombo’s model leads children & youth out of street life towards alternatives. In many cases, this means reintegration back into their communities with appropriate family preparation and support (45 were reintegrated in 2017, out of 262 children reached & 183 drawn into programmes). In cases of such family disintegration that there is no-where to return to, UMthombo refers children & youth to appropriate alternative care, & those older than 16 are supported to develop independent living integrated into their communities.

Due to complex multiple trauma, getting children and youth off the streets needs to be a careful process. There are no quick- fixes, but children’s lives can and are transformed.

uMthombo’s holistic programme includes 5 complementary strategies:

1. Outreach- to children & youth on Durban’s streets (boys & increasingly girls) thru high-impact activities, & if needed, refer to appropriate professional care;
2. Psycho-social interventions for boys & girls for healing, resilience & re-integration;
3. Targeted Development Interventions:
a. Development interventions tailored to specific needs of girls & young women;
b. Post-16 boys residential programme (8-12 weeks) to help young men build independent, integrated lives & seek employment.
4. Prevention Interventions with at-risk children & youth in townships surrounding Durban, & building community safety networks for at-risk children and youth.
5. Advocacy-uMthombo also aims to re-educate local communities as well as government service providers to acknowledge the shared responsibility of all adults towards all children as part of the age-old African communal value of ‘ubuntu’ – ‘I am because you are’, also in light of current SA children’s policies – thus making reintegration a real possibility.

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