Stichting TLC Nederland have supported TLC Children’s Home in South Africa for more than 15 years. Almost 1 million euros have transferred to TLC enabling them to do all what’s best for the abandoned children who entered their home.
Most of the time the money reached the goal. Sometimes it missed. This was more or less due to the enormous workload on the shoulders of the management in person of Thea and lateron Pippa Jarvis and sometimes mismanagement. We accepted that and tried to improve the organisational structure.
In the past two years we felt that the money did not reach its main goal anymore. TLC Children's Home South Africa has received funding from the government in recent years for appointing caregivers in the Nursery. Food donations from local supermarkets made our periodic support more or less superfluous. That is why we switched to project financing. The new insights on how institutional childcare (please read: orphanages) should be organized has led us to make this a key element. In 2009, UNESCO issued guidelines on how good alternative childcare can prevent brain damage and improve bonding and social quality of life. Preferably abolish all institutional care and in case this is impossible, family based care should be provided for up to six months. Small groups should be formed, children with a heterogeneous age structure and with the same caregiver (Mama's). Those groups should live in houses in the vicinity of a community. The idea is that this promotes the reunification with one or two of both parents or relatives, Foster uptake and especially education and integration in the nearest community. For volunteers there is no place within the personal care and privacy of the children. They can help with a.o. refurbishment projects, homework support and workshops.
The South African government have implemented the Unesco guidelines on alternative child care integral. The first fruits of this policy can be harvested. The number of abandoned children annually has never been so low, although the number is still high (3.000).
Understandable TLC Netherlands supported the guidelines of Unesco and has spoken to many stakeholders in the field of child care, a.o. Prof. Femmie Juffer and NGO’s like Better Care Network, ICCO, Wilde Ganzen and Kinderpostzegels.
Our efforts to help implement the family based care within TLC South Africa have failed. Courses for the staff, implementation guidelines and skilled consultants have not convinced TLC SA. They will continue as they did the past 20 years. This is working with a high number of volunteers in the personal care of the baby, large groups of beds with baby’s, large groups of kids of the same age, no development reports of each individual child etc. Nothing can be said, that this care is without love, on the contrary, but there is convincing evidence, that such a kind of care (“institutional care”) will cause brain damage, resulting in AD(H)D, bonding problems, low IQ etc. in a high percentage of the children. During the first 1,000 days of the life of a child the children are most vulnerable for this.
Surprisingly TLC Children’s Home have now informed us, that it is their decision to stop using our support immediately. This is very regretful, not in the interest of the children at all, very regretful for our sponsors. Their decision appears irreversible. We will do our utmost to change their decision, but for the moment we feel it necessary to inform you about this situation. Of course, everyone who has a connection with TLC South Africa (as a child, parent or volunteer) remains very welcome.
With the funds that the sponsors and donors have made available to us, we will support other projects in Southern Africa with a focus on family-based care. In this way your money ends up in a place that is supported by Unesco guidelines.
Additional supportive reading can be found on the website of umbrella organization Better Care Network
Stichting TLC Nederland,
“Stichting TLC Nederland” is an independent ngo founded in the Netherlands in 2003 with a mission to support child care in the southern part of Africa. From the beginning this ngo has focussed on TLC Children’s Home in South Africa. The ngo always audited the spending’s of its support closely.
Communications: Stichting TLC Nederland, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org