Children arrive at Casa Walsingham by various routes: some of them are invited to come when they meet Funvini’s street-educators during their Operation Friendship patrols of the city center; some turn up on the doorstep of their own accord, at the recommendation of other children; some are brought by their families; and yet others are referred to Casa Walsingham by their parish priests or by the city authorities. Of course, no child is ever forced to stay, and none can be admitted to Funvini’s programs without the request of a parent, guardian or public official.
New arrivals are assessed by our team of social-workers and psychologists. Some cases are quite straight forward, and a little help at the right time can make a world of difference. For example, the family of these twin sisters with bad eyesight could only manage to provide the girls with a single pair of glasses to share between them. This meant that the girl whose turn it was to have the glasses that day would go to school, but her sister would be out on the street; and the next day they would swap over. Each girl was only receiving half an education, and both of them were at high risk of being caught up in street life. But with a little help from Funvini, both girls were given glasses, so both of them were able to go to school every day. Problem solved!
But the charity also considers itself to be an organization of last resort, so if no-one else can or will help, the buck stops with Funvini, which sometimes ends up with children with whom other organisations have not been able to cope. Funvini’s team is therefore made up of professionals who actually want to work with these difficult cases
After their needs have been assessed, some children are admitted to Funvini’s programs. Others have to be cared for on an individual basis. And if a new category of needy children appears - such as those who are refugees from Venezuela - Funvini has to try to create a new program especially for them.
But the charity’s resources are very limited, and sometimes the help that it is able to provide is too little, or comes too late. Then the consequences can indeed be tragic, and children’s lives may be lost. So far in 2019, two of Funvini’s youth have been killed in the street. One was aged 17 and the other only 13.
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Let The Children Live! (Inc.) - U.S.A.
Let The Children Live! - U.K.
Postal address: Let The Children Live! P.O. Box 2325, Orinda, California 94563