Challenges faced by western-modelled residential care institutions in preparing the residents for meaningful re-integration into society: A case study of a Harare-based children’s home
In Zimbabwe, child welfare has been at the top of the agenda of the government and numerous non-governmental agencies since the mid-1980s when thousands of children became orphaned as their parents succumbed to AIDS-related illnesses. The response to the crisis has essentially involved placing the orphans and other vulnerable children (OVC) in residential care institutions, particularly children’s home that operate in the basis of western models. Questions have been raised relating to issues such as the extent to which the children placed in these institutions, where they are cared for by non-relatives, do receive the kind of mentorship that is in conformity with African culture and values, predicated on with what has been termed the ‘human factor’ approach. Some commentators have blamed these residential care centres for their apparent failure to bring up the orphans and other vulnerable children in their care, sufficiently well groomed in local culture and values, and that the perceived failure had led to a situation where such children grew up with anti-social tendencies. This paper is based on an analysis of data on the welfare of children who were based in a residential care home situated in Harare, Zimbabwe and the results indicated that the children in this residential care centre tended to exhibit a serious lack of proper grooming in African culture and values, which phenomenon predisposed them to negative behavioural tendencies. The paper recommends the adoption of an Afro-centric model of residential care for children in Zimbabwe.
Keywords: Children, Zimbabwe, human factor, children, Afro-centric, culture.