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Children bedroom at the Emergency Accommodation

A major component of the ‘Stop Abuse for Every child project’, which BRCI is currently implementing, is the Safe Accommodation Services for Abused children. It became effective in April 2017. The safe Accommodation Services is divided into two unit, The Emergency Accommodation Shelter and the Foster Care.

The Emergency Accommodation Shelter was opened with the intention of providing short-term accommodation of up to 30 nights for children who would otherwise be forced to live on the streets. This is in hope that a more permanent and longer-term solution will be found for the children within the stipulated period. The idea was that the children would be re-integrated or re-united with their families or secure foster care placement for them with families trained and approved to accommodate. However, the circumstances and complexity of some cases has made it  necessary to extend the stay beyond 30 nights with some children staying in the facility for up to a year. Reintegration of children dubbed witches is the most challenging case to handle.

With the near total collapse of health infrastructure and the quality of education in Nigeria, religious merchants have successfully been promoting harmful superstitious beliefs which are not only harming children but are inhibiting support from families who would have but not for the belief in witchcraft, protected the kids. The government has not helped much as none of the reported witchcraft related cases of death and severe bodily harm ever get investigated.

One of the children at the Emergency Accommodation celebrating her birthday

So far, a total of about 73 children have passed through the shelter. We have been able to re-unite them back to their family or given them out to Foster care givers approved by government. Currently, we have nine (9) children in the shelter with two shelter managers. The age of children we cater for, are children under 18 years. The capacity of the number of children the shelter can take in is ten (10).

We also help children whose parents are alive but do not have the economic capacity to provide for their children needs and no relatives are willing to take care of them.

Upon arrival, the children are given a welcome pack, toys, 24 hours’ emergency care and emotional support as well hot meals and medication for the entirety of their stay.

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