Rescue, Rehabilitation & Reintegration Program (RRR)
The number of children living or working on the streets are dramatically increasing in Afghanistan. For instance, based on a survey conducted by Compass Consulting, the number of children working or living on the streets in Mazar-e-Sharif have increased from 3,589 in 2013 to 5,431 in 2016. Almost all of these children belong to families who have lost either the main breadwinner of the family or have no living parent. In many cases, these children belong to disabled or addicted fathers. From tea boys to car washing or boot polishing, all of these children are vulnerable to hard labor, abuse, addiction and most importantly subject to join armed militias. Based on a report by Human Rights Watch, The Taliban recruited boys as young as 14 to fight and carry out suicide bombings. The harsh situation on the streets make the living and earning for these children unacceptability tough but having no other option to lean on or anyone to support them damages their psychology which will later result in unrecoverable character problems in them. So far, numerous programs had been designed, funded and implemented to support these children and to help them follow their education instead of working on the streets. But unfortunately, after the funding is exhausted, these children returned to the street to support their families. One of such programs is the Aschiana Foundation’s program whose main objective is to provide support packages for the street children and let them pursue their education since 2004. But based on the findings, the number of such children are increasing by far.
The main purpose and exclusive goal of this program is to rescue children from the harmful street environment, take them out of the social isolation, equip them with necessary art, skills, knowledge and social ethics, then provide them with safe working environment and ultimately, re-integrate them into the society as respectful young individuals.
Rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration (RRR) is a program specifically designed to assess and transfer the street children from the unsafe street environment, to education and skills training facilities. At the meantime, RRR will also support their families by providing basic needs so their families would no longer push their children to work on the streets. By doing so, the program will create a sustainable system to assess the street children, place them to the available training programs, make sure they will be self-sufficient upon exit, and further maintain follow-on support to make sure they will not return to the street. RRR has two major interests; 1- Rescuing children at an early age from the harmful street environment will reduce the chance of future challenges the society will have with the grown-up street children. Almost in all cases, the grown-up street children will fail to build a proper living due to their lack of education and appropriate skills. They tend to conduct illegal actions such as kidnapping, drug dealing, joining armed militias, smuggling and burglary, in order to earn their living. As a fact, their innocence at the early ages prevents the society to imagine how they would turn out to be once they grow up. 2- The rescued children will have a brighter future and will reintegrate with the society as respected and trusted individuals. Once they are transferred into a carefully designed program, their attitude will be slowly fixed and their interpersonal relationship will improve. Besides learning skills and basic education, professional psychologists will provide them with periodic consultations that will rehabilitate their self-esteem, self-confidence and the sense of responsibility. Once they are equipped with all the necessary characteristics, the program will place them into active groups such as young theater group, painting, photography, filming, music and etc.
The phase I of the program consist of assessing street children and registering them to the program considering the available funding for one period of the development program. In this phase, the children will be placed into training classes per their age groups and gender. A pre-test and interview with them will be conducted in order to assess their talent and interest in order to determine in which program each individual should be placed.
The main objective of this phase is to equip the children with arts, literacy and skills so they can generate income for themselves and their families in the future. Once accomplished the rehabilitation phase, the children will be split into smaller activity groups where they can receive initial support from the program in order to settle their own sustainable income generating activities.
The program will give priority to building the capacity of the beneficiaries in the first place, but providing psycho-social support for re-building their self-confidence, character and sense of values and responsibilities will prepare the individual beneficiaries to integrate with the mainstream and get along very well with the society.
The program is designed by a group of experts who has been working in the fields of nutrition, healthcare, children protection, education and humanitarian activities across Afghanistan for several years.