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Report: Reintegration of C.P.A.J – children into their families or foster families

Autor: Stefan | Datum: 14 April 2016, 14:06 | 4 Kommentare

Da mein Blog in den letzten Monaten so gut wie tot war, wollte ich gern einfach mal wieder was teilen, was bei mir gerade so passiert. Da ich aber selten Zeit finde zum Blogschreiben, veröffentliche ich heute mal einen Artikel, den ich für meine Einsatzstelle geschrieben haben. Es geht um die Reintegration von Kindern aus dem C.P.A.J.-Center in ihre Familien oder Pflegefamilien. Der Artikel ist sehr sachlich und unterscheidet sich vielleicht etwas von meinen bisherigen Blogeinträgen...auch in der Sprache, aber ich hoffe, er gibt einen kleinen Einblick über das was im Straßenkinderprojekt C.P.A.J. und vielen anderen Projekten in Ruanda passiert. Der Artikel enstand nachdem ich Ende März und Anfang April den Sozialarbeiter vom C.P.A.J. bei der Reintegration von ca. 20 Kindern begleiten und assistieren durfte.

Demnächst werde ich auch weitere Blogeinträge über das was ich im Februar und März erlebt habe schreiben und die versprochenen Bilder der verschiedenen Häuser in Kigali hochladen.

Aber jetzt erstmal viel Spaß beim Lesen:


Report: Reintegration of C.P.A.J – children into their families or foster families

Many street children live on the streets of Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. Being a “street child” means being exposed to countless dangers such as violence, abuse or becoming addicted to drugs. Everyone who is living or visiting Kigali with open eyes has to wonder: “Where do all these children come from and why are they living on the street?” In these last weeks the debate about “the problem of street children” ikibazo cy´abana bo mu umuhanda became more and more a topic of public interest especially through the public criticism by Rwandan president Kagame of ministers and local authorities, which are or were in charge of solving that issue. Obviously not very successful because the responsible minister was unceremoniously dismissed by president Kagame.

There are various reasons why these street children have once decided to leave their homes and live in the streets of Kigali. Some of these reasons are the death of one or both of their parents, divorced parents and destroyed families, domestic violence and poverty in general.

In order to help these children the EPR (Eglise Presbyterienne au Rwanda) founded C.P.A.J (Centre Presbytériend’Amour des Jeunes). The centre provides a place to sleep for the children, regular meals, psychosocial support and the staff motivates the children to visit the school regularly.

Morgens vor dem Aufbruch

Social worker and children before the reintegration (March 2016 at the C.P.A.J. centre in Kigali, Kicukiro)

After a certain time in the centre, which can vary from 3 months to more than one year, the centre tries to reintegrate children into their families or foster families. The reintegration process starts with the agreement of the child to be reintegrated and the locating of the family. After that the child is equipped with a school bag, other school materials, clothes, shoes and a mattress. Accompanied by a social worker of C.P.A.J. the child is brought to his family. Some of the families live far away from Kigali in the countryside and you have to wonder how once these children made it to Kigali.

As mentioned above there are various reasons why these children have left their homes. The social worker tries to find out the specific reasons for each child by interviewing the parents or other available caretakers, such as uncles, aunts, older siblings or foster parents. Also the financial and economical as well as the social situation of the family is investigated through that interview to ensure a successful reintegration.

The questions are for example:


“What are the reasons why the child left his home?”


“What are the strategies to prevent that the child goes back to the street?”


“How do you feel about the return of the child?”


“What is your monthly income?”


“You have possessions like a house or a cow?”


Reintegration of a child in a rural area in the south of Rwanda (March 2016, Gisagara)

During the reintegration from March to April this year 18 children have been reintegrated by C.P.A.J.. I made the experience that many children have left their homes because of a combination of financial and family problems such as unemployment, a small capacity to cultivate, divorced parents and death or sickness of one or both parents. Even if C.P.A.J. provided the basic materials and pays school fees for the reintegrated children, some families will have big problems to take good care of the reintegrated children because of the issues mentioned above.


Left: The moment the reintegrated child enters his old home

Right: The first reintegration in 2016, social workers, reintegrated child, family and friends of the family

C.P.A.J. does a lot for the former street children and maybe much more than a Transit centre officially has to do but because of financial limits it is right now not possible for the centre to solve or fight against on of the main problems which is rural poverty. The question is how to empower families to take permanently full care of the reintegrated children to ensure a permanent successful reintegration. Taking full care requires a stable financial, economical situation of the family which includes: Having a regular income, which means in rural areas to have enough land capacity to cultivate for your needs or the public market and the possibility the keep farm animals such as cows, goats or sheep. It should be a main task for C.P.A.J., the EPR, all involved partners and the Rwandan government to find solutions for this question (How to empower families?).

Reintegration in eine Pflegefamilie

Reintegration of a child in a foster family near Kigali (2016, Kamonyi)

Nevertheless despite all problems and difficulties which the reintegration reveals, there are many examples for successful reintegrations. In this period of reintegration, too, there is a chance for many positive reintegrations. Why I think so? Because I have seen strong people and strong children which were simply happy to be together finally.

Stefan Schönherr  

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