Successful Reunification Story in Mogadishu

Information of Alternative care program in SOS Somalia

SOS Children’s Villages Somalia, is a member Association of the Federation SOS Children’s Villages International. The initiative to establish SOS Children's Villages in Somalia began in 1983 with the signing of a government agreement. A property provided by the government in the capital of Mogadishu was chosen as the construction site for the first SOS Children's Village and its adjoining kindergarten. In subsequent years a school, a youth facility and a mother and child clinic were established on the same property.

The Alternative Care Program in Benadir location has implemented SOS family care (family-like based care), foster care and community-integrated youth in Mogadishu. Although SOS Children’s Villages Somalia made a lot of efforts to cater for the basic needs of these vulnerable children, it is observed and noticed that there will never be enough space in SOS Children’s Village mogadishu, the only SOS village in Somalia to accommodate more of these children. Moreover the De-institutionalization process was a strong focus for SOS Somalia and   as a matter of fact, in late 2017 SOS CV Mogadishu had started to respond to the the Rapid assessment and the UN call for De-institutionalisation.

Child-family reunification

Reunifcation of children with their biological families represents an important part of our recent approaches and as our focus is to broaden the range of alternative care settings, more appropriate and better quality care. We strongly focus on the links between children and their families of origin in order to create reliable and sustainable relationships. The prioritization of RAP which recommends significant change to SOS care model enabled SOS Somalia to adapt the review of current care setting of children. To put into practice, the principles of necessity and suitability enshrined in the United Nations (UN) Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children, in 2016 SOS CV Somalia conducted an assessment to identify the needs of children in our target group. The findings of the assessment conducted in CV Mogadishu clearly indicate that there are children who are admitted into the Village whose either two or one of the parents are alive which is against the target group.

I belong to a family - Nasra

Nasra is a little girl who is 9-year-old. She was admitted to SOS program in mid-2015 at the age of 3, together with her two siblings. Her family is large and consists of 7 girls,3 boys and the mother.  

The children were living in the countryside when fighting broke out in the vicinity of their home. The youngest two, Narsa and her little brother, were tied with a rope as their mother was not around. But thanks to the good neighbors, the children were rescued although the eldest among the 3 admitted escaped as he was not tied at that time. However, he was found after 2 days. The children had lost their father in a fight between two clans and the mother was unable to continue caring for them.

When the father died they all separated as the 7 older children were shared among the relatives and 3 young children were admitted to SOS Children’s Village Mogadishu. She was the youngest girl in the family before joining the village. She felt neglected by her mother after being separated with her siblings.

However, they were reunified with their biological family in late 2018 after they spent 4 successful years in the village. The mother reunited with her children outside SOS in the countryside and shifted to Mogadishu city. Prior to the re-unification, the SOS Village team had established a link between the three children and their mother. A positive relationship was observed as the mother regularly contacted and visited the children while they were in the village. The reunification team also initiated holiday visits for the children to their family of origin and they loved this initiative as they were able to see their siblings outside the SOS Village.” I was happy when I saw my brothers and sister and it was my dream to see them because I knew I belong to a family” Says Nasra.


Developing a process for family reunification

With this program response, SOS Children Village Somalia developed a reintegration process to reunite children with their families of origin. The program team reviewed and explored the current care situation with reference to the results of the assessment conducted in 2016. A massive awareness campaign was raised for the biological parents. After 4 years of living apart, Nasra’s mother became the first to apply for reunification of her children. Considering the best interest of the children, Nasra and her two brothers were included in the first group planned for reunification with their families of origin, since present care was not the most appropriate.

Individual family assessments were carried out and it was realized that the family situations had improved. However, there is need to continue supporting the children since the family size is large. But this is not the best option to prevent the children from reuniting with their biological family as they can get the required care from within their own family.

With regard to the reunification process, the team began preparing the children and family for the unification by considering the opinions of the children. The mother was well prepared for the return of her children and appreciated the reunification initiative.   “I feel that I was well prepared to have my child returned to me “said the mother. After completed the process and upon the involvement of all stakeholders, the children were successfully reunified with their biological family in August 2018.