The formation Familia Upendo and Upendo Villages as basic orphan care units where orphans are raised morally, intellectually, socially and spiritually to become independent and productive citizens who live free and better lives as adults.
The love of Christ compels us to offer a holistic care to these children in need, as we instill in them a sense of human dignity, essential in their lives. Hence we house, feed, clothe, educate and train them, aiming at fostering in them the self esteem which engender the dignity of the human person. We encourage and instill in them self confidence and self-esteem so that they can cope with the hardships of life. We do this without humiliation or discrimination to any orphans. Aware that only love and self confidence lead a child to self determination.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE ‘FAMILIA UPENDO’ UNIT
The OVC like any other children need to be loved within the context of a biological family for their physical and mental growth and when this family is broken or dysfunctional, its alternative models must be instituted to assist orphans grow naturally. The Familia Upendo (charity/love family), as an alternative family, emerged to mitigate the potential hazards to the wellbeing of bereaved children. Orphans are children like any others and they need that awareness, not the stigma of orphanhood, for their holistic wellbeing.
Familia Upendo is basic unit of orphans care in the TOUCO model. It is an alternative family unit to the biological family. Familia Upendo is the sum of orphans or vulnerable children living together under one roof in units of 6 to 12 orphans brought in at ages between 3 and 12, raised by a volunteer widow or mother affectionately known as “Mama Mkubwa” or simply “Mama ” This mama helps these orphans attain maturity in socially and psychologically safe environments as they are taught better social and economic skills. Efforts are being made to assists these orphans to grow well and be educated and trained so that they will exit this care system to lead independent productive lives as adults.
THE TOUCO CARE MODEL
The TOUCO model of OVC care, though a novelty to some extent is particularly not unique in Africa as exemplified by the traditional child-headed households. It incorporates elements of traditional African children care within the extended family while integrating modern research findings in child psychology and other successful global models from other cultures. Other models of similar structure have been applied in Ethiopia, Malawi, South Africa and Botswana and other Sub-Saharan countries. The TOUCO model imitates the African extended family common principles of child care, in which after the age of three, a child was free to grow within any unit of the extended family. This freedom which the African child enjoyed in contradistinction to his or her counterpart in the nuclear family is what gives the African orphan child a distinctive survival archetype in facing orphanhood, not easily found in Western or Eastern cultures. TOUCO takes advantage of these findings and builds a model to simulate them.
Formation of Familia Upendo
TOUCO helps OVC aged 3 to 12 years, who have lost single or both parents, who live with guardians or relatives but overwhelmed by numbers or who live with elderly helpless grandparents. TOUCO works with the guardians of the orphans, the pertinent the community, village governments and district social work departments to identify these children. Village OVC committees are stakeholders