Wataneya Empowers Institutional Home Care Leavers to Lead a Dignified Life by Equipping Them with the Life Skills Necessary for Their Self-Reliance and Seamless Integration With Their Communities
According to UNICEF, it is estimated that there are 140 million children without parental care in the world. In Egypt, around 2.7 million children have lost either one or both parents.
Unfortunately, orphans moving out of institutional care homes after reaching then age of 18 in Egypt face multiple challenges including finding adequate housing, income generating activity, in addition to other phyco-social and internal security hurdles.
According to a baseline study Wataneya Society conducted in 2019, youth inside care homes lack basic skills to transition smoothly and live independently.
The study showed that around
% don’t know how to handle emergencies
% do not have financial literacy
% not psychologically ready to leave home
Since its establishment in 2008, Wataneya Society has operated with the aim of “creating a future of equal opportunities for children and youth without parental care”.
Wataneya’s adopts a holistic approach to meeting the challenges faced by orphans by strengthening alternative care systems, whether through training care home professions, supporting alternative families, or preparing youth for their transition from care homes to self-reliance.
As of today, Wataneya Society has been able to build the capacity of over 2,300 caregivers across 220 care homes from 16 governorates and 500 government employees. Their efforts have resulted in better care for around 3,300 children and youth without parental care. Their awareness raising campaigns have also helped increase understanding of societal responsibilities towards children and youth without parental care, which has a wider impact on over 2 million beneficiaries.
However, Wataneya greatest breakthrough was their development of Quality Standards for Alternative Care within care homes, which are now a prerequisite for care homes for their license renewals across Egypt.
Wataneya’s current activities are centered around the implementation of their 5-year Care Leavers’ Independence Program, which they launched in collaboration with development partners including the Ministry of Social Solidarity, Drosos Foundation, Sawiris foundation and Alex Bank.
The program will target male and female youth inside care homes from age 6 to 18+ with the purpose of providing them with the skills needed to enable them to make a successful transition to independence. The project included the delivery of expert advice, capacity building, institutional strengthening as well as advocacy for durable solutions to secure the protection needs for orphanages to live with dignity and respect.
The project included the following interventions:
- A beneficiary-centered training approach that follows on Wanateya’s training on self discovery and development. It focuses on providing the employability skills and life skills needed to develop their confidence, manage their emotions, and build a phsyco-social support system.
- Workshops for care home management, personnel, and supervisors to adapt their systems to help prepare children and youth for independence. Through its Center for Learning and Development, Watanya society train, qualify and accredit caregivers and workers in the field of alternative care.
- Workshops targeting the ministerial staff of assessors, supervisors, and volunteers.
- Awareness raising activities to increase the community's acceptance of careleavers, support their integration in society, and push for the provision of job opportunities for youth to succeed in living independently.
- Develop the legislation framework to accommodate the care leavers’ needs and ensure equal opportunities.
- One of Wataneya’s core values is to lead by empowering youth to voice and share their own experience. This is why their project also established a YouTube channel to broadcast and share the lived experiences and challenges of care leavers.
Due to their efforts, Wataneya Society has been recognized as one of the best six organizations worldwide to improve the living environment by Dubai International Award and was also selected as the best project under the Humanitarian Category in the Arab Region by MBC Hope in 2014, and was recognized by Prince Mohamed Bin Fahd Prize for Best Charity Performance in 2017 in the Arab World and received Misr El Kheir Foundation “Social Pioneers Prize” in 2020 for its effort in implementing the fourth goal in the SDGs “Quality Education.”
To support their on-going work, Wataneya is seeking partnerships with private sector, vocational schools, universities, and NGOs working on youth development and women empowerment to support the after-care ecosystem for better social and economic empowerment for youth leaving their care homes.