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Hungry. Hurting. Homeless.
Carmen cares for Graciela in El Salvador Didas cares for Shila in Uganda Udita cares for Daya in Nepal But who cares for Joseph? Catalina? Nadoor? Will you answer that question today?
Our promise to them... hope, safety, stability. Our promise to you... inspiration, connection, integrity.
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Carmen cares for Graciela in El Salvador

Carmen & Graciela

Eight-year-old Graciela never knew her father. But lots of other men came every evening to visit her mother. When there were plenty of men, there was plenty of food. But when her mother got sick the men stopped coming. And when her mother died she was suddenly left hungry, hurting and homeless.

Two of those things were dealt with fairly soon: through a neighbour Graciela was taken to Fundación Amor, a residential school just outside San Salvador, providing her with regular meals and a roof over her head. She was well looked after there, her quiet ways and sad smile quickly touching the heart of one of the live-in caregivers, Carmen Hernandez.

But when a child has been through what Graciela has, love on its own is not enough. Carmen could see that Graciela was struggling immensely to come to terms with what she had been through, and Carmen felt overwhelmed by the task of helping her to heal and to rebuild her life.

Thankfully it wasn’t long after Graciela arrived that Fundación Amor became a part of the local Viva network. Through Viva, Carmen was able to connect with others working with children in her area, enjoying support and guidance from more experienced caregivers and receiving expert childcare training.

She was helped towards a greater understanding of the terrible things that Graciela had faced, learning the best ways to counsel and listen to her. She learned both the theory and the practicalities involved in Child Protection, enabling her to protect Graciela from further hurt and danger. And she gained the ongoing guidance and support necessary to prevent herself from feeling overwhelmed and burning out, allowing her to be the stable and consistent carer that Graciela so desperately needs.

Over time, an already compassionate Carmen has grown into an insightful, resilient and knowledgeable caregiver who not only wants to help but actually knows how to. And Graciela is growing into a happier, healthier girl who, despite what she’s experienced, now has a real chance to become all that God intends for her to be.

Now Graciela doesn’t have to ask ‘Who cares?’ She can see for herself that Carmen does.

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Didas cares for Shila in Uganda

Didas & Shila

One of four children from a poor family, often bearing more than one bruise and with a reputation for skipping school, 11-year-old Shila had been under the watchful eyes of community social worker Didas Muhawirhe for some time. But as Shila grew more and more unhappy, Didas decided that it was time to stop observing the situation and start taking action.

Didas knew that Shila was unsettled at home and at school, and avoided both as much as possible. But whenever Didas tried to talk with Shila about what was bothering her she wouldn’t even meet his eyes, and as soon as he started asking questions she would simply walk away.

Thankfully, around the same time as Didas began his conversations with Shila he also came into contact with Viva’s network in Kampala. He was able to connect with other caregivers working with local children, whose ideas, experience and support were very valuable as he received expert childcare training and guidance from Viva.

Didas discovered the importance of treating Shila as an individual and listening carefully to her unique needs, letting her responses guide him towards the best way to help her. He learnt how to use things like art and music to help children express their emotions, and soon realised that Shila found drawing a good way to explain what she was going through.

She began to open up, sharing with Didas that her mother had been hitting her, making Shila unhappy at home and scared to go to school in case they asked questions about the bruises. Didas’ training encouraged him to continue his work with Shila in the context of her family, and the amazing progress he had made in his sessions with her gave him the confidence to go and visit her parents.

Over several weeks of speaking with Shila and her family Didas saw a dramatic change in the attitudes of her parents, and Shila herself is now much happier and feels more able to talk to her mum about what she’s feeling. She has also decided that she wants to be a teacher when she grows up, so she can look out for children who are having a hard time at home, like she did.

Now Shila doesn’t have to ask ‘Who cares?’ She can see for herself that Didas does.

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Udita cares for Daya in Nepal

Udita & Daya

When Udita Kapoor found five-year-old Daya wandering the streets of Biratnagar, Nepal, she reacted in a very unusual way: she actually took him into her own home. Why? Because what she has learned through Viva is engaging her heart as well as her head.

A caregiver in a small children’s home in Nepal, Udita had always felt that it was her duty to respond to the needs of the many struggling children she saw in her country. She was a very hard worker with an amazing determination to make a difference, yet she had very little experience of caring for children as emotionally and physically traumatised as those she was expected to help every day.

Then, through the local Viva network, she was able to meet with more experienced caregivers, take part in an accredited childcare course and receive guidance and support from expert trainers and others working alongside her with children in the community.

Over several months she began to understand the importance of valuing each child individually, discovering how to really listen to them and learning more specific ways to help them in the context of their particular experiences, family and background. The addition of this knowledge and skill to her passionate, hardworking nature transformed the way she interacted with the children she met.

So when she came across Daya during a community visit, and discovered that he had no family to care for him, she didn’t just see yet another hungry child whose needs could be met with a bed in an orphanage. She spent time getting to know him, and discovered that the thing he felt most starved of in his young life was love. Abandoned as a very young child he had spent several years surviving only on the charity of neighbours, which never extended past scraps of food and a bit of cardboard to sleep on, and what he wanted most in the world was simply someone to hold his hand.

Knowing this, she felt strongly that she wanted to respond in a much more personal way than she would ever have considered before. She and her husband chose to take him into their own home, giving him good food, new clothes, his own bed and, most importantly, offering him the chance to be a part of their family.

Now Daya is one more child who doesn’t have to ask ‘Who cares?’ He knows that Udita does.

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OUR PROMISE TO THEM...

Children need hope, safety and stability, but so do those who care for them, as they do a demanding job in often very difficult circumstances. Viva is committed to helping them both:

HOPE

  • We will give children hope by training those who care for them to understand them better, listen to them carefully and help them find a way through the trauma they have experienced
  • We will give caregivers hope by helping them to do their jobs to the best of their ability, equipping them with specific and invaluable skills such as counseling and first aid

SAFETY

  • We will ensure children are kept safe from further harm or danger as those who care for them receive specialized child protection training
  • We will help protect caregivers themselves by making sure they know how to training them in child protection best practice, so they can work safely to these important standards

STABILITY

  • We will ensure that children have caregivers who are well-supported themselves, so they don’t burn out, and can offer children consistent care for as long as they need it
  • We will train caregivers to look after their own health and wellbeing, and will organize retreats where they can be refreshed and re-envisioned for their work

We promise that, through your gifts, local caregivers will be helped to work to internationally recognized standards so the children in their care can flourish and look forward to a much brighter future.

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OUR PROMISE TO YOU...

Your support will play an invaluable part in helping children to become all that God intends them to be. In return, we promise to provide you with:

INSPIRATION

  • We will demonstrate how your gifts, combined with the caregivers’ compassion and Viva’s expert input, are changing children’s lives for good
  • We will provide you with regular, engaging reports. In order to keep costs low, we will send you two updates by email and two by post in our twice-yearly vivanews

CONNECTION

  • You can receive up-to-date news and photos through the dedicated, invite-only ‘Who cares?’ Facebook page and also through Twitter
  • You will get a chance to interact through social media with like-minded people who have also responded to God’s call to care for the poor, the young and the vulnerable

INTEGRITY

  • We will use your gifts carefully. We currently spend just 10c to raise $1, and we will report back to you once a year on exactly how we have spent our funds to help children
  • Your security of information is very important to us. We will never sell, share or give your name to other organizations

We promise that, through your gifts, local caregivers will be helped to work to internationally recognized standards so the children in their care can flourish and look forward to a much brighter future.

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