Biojemmss carries out community-based initiatives across its locations of operation. They are designed to strengthen families, in turn preventing abuse and keeping children at home wherever possible. This avoids children residing on the street and entering residential provisions where their risk of abuse often increases, especially as many sub-standard homes still operate.
Biojemmss provides hampers for children under the age of five who have been incarcerated because their mothers are serving prison sentences. We visit the mothers once a week to provide emotional support and provide hampers once a month which contain essential items including bathing soap and powdered milk. When parents are arrested, they can often also leave young children unsupervised at home. Biojemmss undertakes home visits when needed to locate these children and alert the local authorities and relevant community members, sometimes providing material assistance. Biojemmss attends local meetings where children at risk are discussed and continue to look for opportunities to work with partners to strengthen structures and policies surrounding children. We are exploring options around providing legal aid to strengthen this work.
Retracing and Rehabilitating
Fondly known in Uganda as “retracing and rehabilitating”, Biojemmss works with street children to trace family members and provides assistance to rehabilitate them back home wherever possible. This can sometimes include working with the community to locate wider family who are willing to look after the child whilst we support with school fees and materials. Biojemmss Rukungiri does provide crisis short-term accommodation to these children as this process is completed.
Biojemmss also runs annual camps in Rukungiri for children aged five to fourteen. We partner with local churches and minister to hundreds of children and their families during the January camp. This has helped us build great relationships with the community and meet other needs as they arise. We have seen hundreds of children commit their lives to God as a result of these camps. Our desire is to see more saved and to disciple these children as they begin their journeys of faith. Biojemmss has recently expanded this work to host children’s conferences in other rural churches, and help them to strengthen existing children’s ministries.
All our interventions are designed to try and strengthen families. We also carry out a specific programme to identify children who are residing in families and in situations of significant risk. We work with the family and the community to create positive solutions to minimise this risk. As with our prison ministry work, we are looking in to strengthening our team by recruiting trained legal staff.
Biojemmss delivers child protection training to community partners. This is part of our strategy to improve the standard of care being provided to children across the board. It especially encourages partnership working to increase the number of safe spaces for children, and in turn to help tackle child abuse.