Graham Pollard and Nick Porthouse completing the Castle Howard Triathlon in July 2018

In 2018, Graham and Nick, challenged themselves to complete the Castle Howard triathlon, blithely unaware of the tricky terrain they would be covering! They made a public commitment and were determined to make the challenge doubly worthwhile by raising money for SFAC at the same time, so they didn’t back down. They cycled up hill and down dale and swam through algae, weeds (and tried not to think about what else!), swiping at the slimy mess as they ran the final stretch and emerged triumphant at the finish line.

Between them they raised nearly £3,000 making them Superstars in our eyes.

Here’s what we were able to do because of their incredible efforts:

 

Subsidise a longstanding project with a very small Ugandan charity called CALM Africa. CALM Africa provides foster care to a number of children in their area; an area that is very poor and so many people struggle to meet the basic needs of their families. As well as the actual foster care provision, the programme involves training community members in how to be foster carers to children local to them. Graham and Nick’s money helped us provide some of the staff at CALM Africa with four online training sessions to improve their skills in equipping foster carers to provide appropriate, high quality, individualised care.

Cover the costs of three days face-to-face training with staff at Sepheo, an amazing organisation working with children who have been living on the streets in Lesotho. Sepheo offers the children the opportunity to attend their school – something that is perhaps surprisingly motivating to those of us who’ve grown up attending school whether we liked it or not! The children are able to attend school if they are living off the streets in a family home Sepheo staff have assessed to be safe. Sepheo comes alongside the children to find a family where they can both be safe and feel safe. This approach has been highly successful and they have managed to lower the number of street children in Maseru to almost zero!

SFAC equipped Sepheo staff to assess and analyse whether or not a parent, member of the extended family or another community member could safely and appropriately care for the child. We also covered how to manage a child’s reactions to trauma (as they are likely to have suffered abuse on the streets if not before), and promoted understanding and knowledge in the staff team about why children may display difficult behaviour. The staff will, in turn, use this new learning to educate and support the child’s carers.

We are now looking to help Sepheo develop a formal foster care project in the community with local people who are willing to care for children. To date, people with some connection with the child (neighbour or family friend), have been informally providing care on the assumption it would be of short duration or have had to give up work to care for the child. The aim now is to develop a more formal programme that can train, support and care for both foster carer and child. Our social work and therapeutic teams will be helping Sepheo to train their staff in how to do this to a safe and high standard. We set aside some money from Graham and Nick’s fundraising to support this ongoing work.

 

Run three online sessions in the Philippines with an organisation who had some reservations about their plans to set up an orphanage for children affected by online sexual exploitation. After discussions with us, they have now set up a community programme to support vulnerable children and families to try and keep families together.

 

Subsidise provision of 10 online sessions for foster carers and social work staff at a project in Morocco. The project is run by an organisation called FAPE who set up the first foster care programme in Morocco. A small programme of eight foster care families and three staff, it has overcome cultural resistance by educating people in both the merits of foster care’s outcomes for children and the way it is compatible with Islamic practice. FAPE hope to gain government support for the programme so it can be expanded throughout Morocco.

SFAC’s work with FAPE has been an essential part of their ability to provide high quality care and led to UNICEF publishing a very positive report on their foster care programme. This report prompted interest from the Moroccon government, local authorities and judiciary which, in turn, resulted in a delegation from Morocco recently visiting the UK to learn from practice here. The group included representatives from government and courts in Morocco. Some of Graham and Nick’s money also went towards subsidising the costs of hosting the group.

SFAC continues to work with FAPE on a regular basis. It is an exciting project that is making a huge difference to the lives of children in Morocco with the potential for a ripple effect beyond just FAPE’s work and this particular project.

Making a Difference

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