Tomorrow myself and a team of fellow volunteers will be flying to Indonesia where we’ll have the privilege of seeing first-hand how the organisation we give our time to is transforming children’s lives.
We’ll spend the week getting to know the Signature Programme ‘Families First’ which focuses helping children out of Indonesia’s orphanages and into families.
As a volunteer community leader in East Anglia, I hope that what I see there will help me to inspire other people to get involved in the fantastic work that Save the Children does.
Forty years of experience
I’ll be joined by Lindsay, a voluntary shop leader in Aberystwyth, Brian, a fundraising volunteer in East Lothian, Jeanette, who has volunteered in Save the Children shops and is a regular volunteer speaker and Hannah, a dedicated teacher who has incorporated Save the Children’s work into her school curriculum.
Between us we have around 40 years of experience of volunteering with Save the Children.
Hundreds of thousands in orphanages
More than ten years on from the tsunami there are 700,000 children in orphanages in Indonesia. Care homes there have been largely unregulated, operating as money-making ventures, and children are sometimes abused, neglected or exploited.
Save the Children has found that many of the youngsters were not even orphans – their parents had placed them in institutions because they couldn’t afford to feed them or send them to school.
We’re now trying to get as many children as possible out of these places and into family-based care.
We’re going to be visiting orphanages in the island of Java to see how the Families First programme is working to reunite youngsters with their parents and give them the support they need.
I’ll also be finding out how foster families are being found for the children who don’t have parents.
The aim of our trip is that on our return we will use our experiences to raise further awareness and funds for Save the Children’s work.
We’re looking forward to what we think will be a life-changing experience for us and we can’t wait to share what we learn with local groups of all kinds when we get back.