Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Engaging with the Smallest in Botswana

During our time with Love Botswana Outreach Mission (LBOM), our team was able to assist with the Lorato House of Love - The Baby House. This is one of LBOM's community outreach programs.

Normally the house is run by two women during the day and two women during the night. Our team took over the house from Sunday evening until Tuesday evening. The house at capacity houses 10 babies and over the 10 days were onsite the 10th baby arrived. Our team rallied to the challenge and fed babies, loved on babies, bathed babies and played with babies. Whew. We had a tired group of folks - six babies and four toddlers is work for sure.

Lorato House is a rescue center and orphanage for abandoned babies and children in need. The Northwest and Okavango Districts of Botswana have among the highest levels of orphaned children and children affected by HIV/AIDS in the country. This is the first rescue center of its type in Botswana.

The goal of Lorato House of Love is to place these babies into loving families in Botswana that the children will grow up to be contributing members of society. Lorato House educates and empowers the extended families, guiding them to raise healthy, well-balanced children.

In Botswana, there are no legal options for a mother unable to care for her child. She would be imprisoned if found leaving her baby at the police station or a hospital. Desperate mothers deliver children behind closed doors and abandon them to the river or the bush. When found alive, these babies are raised in the hospital until official investigations have been completed, often years later.
LBOM discovered this and acted to open a rescue center for children in need of care. In 2009, Lorato House of Love was registered as a child welfare institution and opened its doors for service. Governmental social and community welfare divisions throughout Botswana refer infants and children in need of this specialized service to Lorato House.

Children are welcomed into a safe, caring and nurturing atmosphere while they await either reunion with their extended family or introduction to a new, loving family within Botswana. The children are cared for by Batswana in an environment reflective of cultural values and norms. Social, physical, mental, and spiritual activities match and challenge each child’s individual growth.

The cost to care for one child’s stay in the Lorato House for one day is $10. This money is used to provide the following:

For each child:

• 24 hour housing;
• physical support including clothing, food and medical attention;
• developmentally appropriate activities; 
• case management in cooperation with the local authorities concerning official investigations into family of origin.

For the family once a child is placed or the family is identified:

• Counseling, training on health issues, prevention and psychological support to the adult caregivers;
• Referral and advocacy concerning the social network within the community such as government food baskets, health services, hygiene, adult education and parenting;
• Support in identifying and attending income generating programs; and
• Home repairs where needed.

LBOM is in the process of building a new facility that will host up to 70 babies at any given time and provide housing for missionaries and care-givers to live under one roof.

For more information about this part of LBOM and to find out ways you can make an impact on these tiny lives please visit: http://lovebotswana.org/what_we_do/page/Community-Outreach-Programs.

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