Structural challenges of holiday placement programmes for children in SOS’s Children Village, Zimbabwe
Response to child protection crisis has essentially seen the placement of orphans and other vulnerable children in residential care institutions, particularly children’ homes modelled along Western approaches. Questions have been raised relating to issues such as the extent to which children placed in Save Our Souls (SOS) institutions adjust during community holiday visits, the care they receive from non-relatives, their conformity to societal values and norms and the benefits they realize from the Community Holiday Visit Pogramme. The study reported in this article had interviews with 19 purposively sampled participants. The study results showed that, children committed to residential care experience a plethora of problems during their holiday placements. These problems included difficulties in adjusting to the standard of living of local communities, stigma, perceived abuse and cultural alienation, among others. It was observed that, challenges faced by children during holiday visits in the community related to structural neglect; that is an imperfect match between institutional and community ways of living. The paper concluded that institutionalization of children has negative consequences in their integration into the community. The authors suggested that this structural dichotomy could be addressed through; pre-visits counselling, community sensitization, child participation in programming and resourcing follow up initiatives.
Keywords: residential care, children, community, SOS Children’s Village, Zimbabwe