We were welcomed into the social shelter and ushered into a room where a group of 9 children awaited us. The shelter provides a home for children who cannot remain in their homes for whatever reason but is only ever a temporary measure of up to 6 months. They work with the children but also with the parents and the hope is always that the home situation would improve so that the children are able to return home to their families. During 2011 they have had 46 children living there and 35 of those were able to return home while the others were put into foster families. They love the children in their care and try to ensure that they feel part of a family there.
Kara was stood off to the side as we began giving out the boxes. I asked one of the translators to find out her age but before the translator could answer she told me herself in English that she was 10 and smiled a big smile at me. She had managed to learn a good amount of English. But her mother struggles with a drinking problem and is unable to work at the moment. While she is getting help Kara has come to live at the shelter. As Kara opened her box each item was the cause of great delight. She pulled out some glittery hair accessories and with a giggle she told me that now she can be a princess.
Words and pictures by Faith Sprinks- OCC UK