A mother with her two daughters in front of the WRC House of families, Cambodia ©WRC

International Day of Families: working together for children

On Wednesday 15 May, we celebrate the International Day of Families: a good time to recall that families play a vital role in promoting children's rights. Indeed, the family environment is the primary place for a child's development, and it should fulfil a role of protection and education. Nevertheless, adults need good conditions in which to raise their children and sometimes need support, especially when these adults suffer from a combination of vulnerability factors. A healthy family environment helps prevent children from experiencing ruptures and avoids many violations of their rights. That is the reason why we devote an entire section of our activities to supporting parenthood, through the Houses of families.

Vulnerable families face a range of socio-economic challenges, including social isolation, poverty, intra-family conflict, domestic violence, early and unwanted pregnancies, and a lack of self-confidence and knowledge about parenthood. The aim of the House of families, as places of social innovation, is to promote the family as the primary caregiver responsible for their children’s development and protection and help them acquire the tools to fulfil this role.

The project has 3 main objectives: to recreate a social circle to break isolation, to repair the child/parent bond when it is dysfunctional, to empower parents and enhance their educational practices so that they can fully assume their parental responsibilities.

Internationally, this scheme is implemented in 4 countries: Cambodia, the Philippines, Burkina Faso and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Here is a video of the project we are supporting in collaboration with the Cameleon Philippines association.

As part of our approach, it is vital to build connections between our partners and encourage them to operate as a network sharing the same mission. We are convinced that by sharing experiences and practices between professionals, we can constantly improve the educational care we provide for families and their children. For example, we organise crossed-cultural immersions between the different Houses of families. According to Déo Dyamabo, former coordinator of the House of families in Kinshasa: “This scheme is a first, a real innovation compared with traditional social work support methods.”

Via Familiis event. Video from Burkina Faso, Association Kogl Taaba © Michel Le Moine/Apprentis d'Auteuil

Event and meeting with our partners

On 28 November, after a week of sharing practices between professionals from each House of families, an event dedicated to the family support programme was organised in Paris, at the Apprentis d'Auteuil headquarters. For the occasion, the 4 partner associations came together for the opening of a photo exhibition, as well as the broadcasting of video testimonials. The photo exhibition was put together by the beneficiary families in each of the Houses. Each photo was chosen by the families to symbolise what the House of families means to them. The photos were grouped by theme: Welcome-Love-Listening, Support-Encouragement, Sharing Experiences, Basic Needs. The videos show powerful testimonials from families and professionals from each of the organisations. It was a great day of sharing and showcasing the activities put in place by each of our partners, which gave them the incentive to reproduce a photo exhibition in their facilities.