HRI believes that every parent wants the best for their children, and that parents are the most important teachers in their children’s lives. In 2017, HRI partnered with families, community leaders and nonprofit organizations to launch the Children First Program.
by Strengthening Families
Children First launched in Delmas 32, an expansive slum neighborhood where the majority of families lack access to potable water, live in crowded one-room dwellings, and struggle to survive with less than $2 per day. As a result, children are at grave risk of abandonment in orphanages, of contracting waterborne illnesses, being forced into human trafficking, commercial sex, gang violence and drugs.
The Children First Program utilizes a proven Strengthening Families and Child Protection Strategy by providing five coordinated, high-impact interventions designed to reduce family separation and child maltreatment and abandonment.
By providing families with the support they need to overcome poverty-related stress factors, children have a better chance to reach their full potential and thrive. The Children First Program consists of:
- Parental Resilience and Attachment:
Through the Parenting School curriculum, HRI equips parents with the tools they need to establish positive relationships, including attachment to their children; capacity to cope with stresses of daily life and recover from challenges. Parents are provided with the ability to respond appropriately, warmly, and consistently to the basic needs of infants and young children and to foster a strong and secure parent-child attachment.
- Social Connections:
Parents learn how to build and maintain social connections with friends, family members, neighbors, and others who provide emotional support and concrete assistance to parents.
- Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development:
HRI provides parents with fact-based information about child development, appropriate developmental expectations, and knowledge of positive discipline techniques.
- Concrete Support in Times of Need:
Through the Small Micro Enterprise (SME) component of the program, HRI empowers parents with business trainings and a startup fund for SME activities that help families build financial security and cover basic needs and unexpected costs.
- Children’s Social and Emotional Competence:
Our curriculum is designed to improve a child’s ability to interact positively with others and communicate his or her emotions effectively.
CHILDREN FIRST OVERVIEW TO-DATE
The Children First program brings important, targeted parent-child interventions that promote academic achievement, financial stability and healthy and nurturing parent-child relationships.
HRI has been able to deliver its signature package of services to a small cohort of 21 children and their families:
- Children regained access to formal education, afterschool school homework assistance and enrichment activities by consistently attending the Frans Beda Academy. HRI provided funding for the school enrollment and examination fees; books and school supplies; and tutors to provide children with the academic support and enrichment they need to thrive. More than 98% of children enrolled in the Children First program have been promoted into the next grade level. More than 200 children benefited from our 3-week Summer Camp at Frans Beda Academy.
- Children received 1 hot meal a day during the school day for the entire school year. HRI purchased: food and provisions, stove, cookware, utensils, kitchen supplies and other equipment.
- Children and their parents received one general medical consultation each quarter. HRI also distributed basic medicines and medical care kits to all families enrolled in the program.
- All the teachers, school principal and staff at Frans Beda Academy have completed important child protection training. Teachers are now equipped with child protection best practices, which is complementary to Haiti’s legislation and policies. All teachers can also assess where child abuse and neglect prevention fits within school curriculum and become familiar with the most effective pedagogies for implementing prevention initiatives.
HRI doesn’t just care for orphans.
We prevent children from becoming orphans!
- All teachers at Frans Beda Academy have created and maintained supportive and safe learning environments.
- Parents of enrolled children received appropriate trainings on: communication, problem -solving, monitoring, positive reinforcement, and positive discipline (vs. punitive) and parenting techniques.
- Parents developed and refined social interactional skills and civically-minded behaviors they can use in all aspects of their lives and that will help them guide their children toward becoming positive, constructive adults.
- All parents also received one appropriate training session on family planning.
- Parents received income-generating training and support on entrepreneurship, business management, business plan development, basic accounting, customer care, marketing, savings, etc.
- All 21 parents received a 10,000 HTG grant (equivalent to $145 U.S.D.) as a startup for their small business, or the expansion of an already established business but now with improved expectations for success.
- A total of 21 parents are now saving 500 HTG every 15 days (starting May 2018) as a result of their businesses to afford the school fees for the second year of the program.
- HRI conducted a total of 51 home visits to monitor the changes as a result of the training sessions, capturing strong results and success stories.
EXPANDING CHILDREN FIRST
HRI is finalizing the process of screening and identifying the next 30 children and their families for participation in the Children First program during academic year 2018-2019. The new school-year has just begun in Haiti.
While we have the funding for school tuition for all of the children, HRI is still working to secure funding for the other components of the program for the full school-year, which –when combined—make the program so successful.
Children First is a huge step towards HRI’s long-term vision.
Thank you for helping HRI prevent children from becoming orphans by strengthening and unifying families!