Vital Capital Fund commits to develop a social service infrastructure to address the evolving needs of 300 orphans in three orphanages.
To implement the program, The Fundacao will partner with the leading international social work program in Israel, housed at The School of Social Work at the Sapir College. For nearly a decade, The International Social Work Program has developed collaborative social service programs in a number of countries, including Ethiopia and India.
Cohorts of senior social work students from the Sapir College will be enlisted for six month internships. The internship is the first component of a long-term effort to establish a full range of social and educational services at the orphanages. Initial services, determined in collaboration with orphanage administration, will include child development and play therapy training programs for caretakers, one-on-one therapy with the children, group work initiatives with the adolescents, and programs in life skills, sex education, and community building within the orphanage setting. In addition, the first cohort is currently conducting an in-depth needs analysis to determine future interventions and service development. Ultimately, this will result in the establishment of the first school of social work in Huambo, Angola which will provide much needed social work training.
On-site supervision of student interns will be provided by faculty who possess well over 30 years of social service fieldwork and research experience. Moreover, the faculty and interns will be supported by additional experts in international social work, child and adolescent therapy, trauma, group work, and community development. Given Israel's unique history in absorbing orphans from World War II, it has developed expertise on how best to ensure that vulnerable children are prepared to be active citizens. The expertise and resources of the faculty and the students will advance the development of a substantive social service infrastructure.
The commitment will be implemented in three phases over the next two years.
Initially, faculty and interns will conduct an in-depth needs analysis while simultaneously providing services defined in collaboration with orphanage administration. This will lead to the second stage of the commitment during which specific orphanage services will be developed. Finally, guaranteeing the sustainability of the services and adapting them to meet the changing needs of the orphans, together with the training of a permanent professional team, will be the focus of phase three. This project will be followed by an additional phase during which a school of social work will be established in Huambo and will provide professionals with the skills necessary to meet the needs of Angolan society.
The first cohort of interns and faculty arrived in Huambo in February 2014 and are already engaged in caretaker training and direct work with the orphans through individual work, group work, and community work in each of the locations. This work with continue through August 2014 at which time a second cohort of social work professionals from the Sapir College will travel to Angola to continue to build upon the work done by the first cohort. In parallel, a third cohort will begin training at the Sapir College to prepare for their work in Huambo in February 2015. As this initiative develops, all partners will join forces to establish the roots for the first school of social work in Huambo.
Through early 2002, Angola witnessed nearly three decades of civil war while simultaneously dealing with severe poverty and disease. Combined, these conditions resulted in the creation of thousands of orphaned children. To date, orphanages lack the professional infrastructure to train staff to assess and consider the developmental needs of the children. This pilot project will train staff in three orphanages in Huambo to address the differential developmental needs of the 300 children in their care.
Ultimately, these orphans will become Angolan citizens. Providing the best possible conditions for their upbringing can help to ensure that they are empowered and prepared to contribute to society. The long-term desired outcomes are two-fold: first, to ensure that the orphans receive the best possible upbringing to promote improved lifelong outcomes; and second, to advance a training model for orphanage staff that can be replicated throughout Angola and possibly throughout Africa. Both objectives are urgent as Angola rebuilds itself in the aftermath of civil war.