Project Report from Oasis, Kyrgyzstan
Helping care leavers to embark on their new life
Grantee: Public Charitable Foundation OASIS, Kyrgyzstan
Project: Care Leavers Support
In 2022, more than 10,700 vulnerable children lived in 130 children’s residential institutions in Kyrgyzstan. Depending on the type of institution, young people are required to leave between the ages of 14 and 17, and their departure from these institutions in their mid-teenage years is a traumatic process. Analysis by Oasis highlights the vulnerability of young people as they leave the care of institutions (care leavers). On graduation, almost 91% of care leavers migrate to big cities like Bishkek and Osh for educational and job opportunities. They are mostly economically disempowered, unable to participate in democratic processes or contribute to society, and vulnerable to involvement in crime, extremist groups, prostitution, and being trafficked. Research among care leavers demonstrates that 78.1% of care leavers do not have the skills to protect themselves from human trafficking and violence; every second young person (48.65%) plans to go abroad in the next two years; 80.6% have not signed job contracts and work in illegal sector of the economy.
With the support of the BEARR Trust, the Oasis Foundation successfully implemented the Care Leavers Support Project. The project helped to empower and prepare 139 care leavers (graduates of orphanages and closed residential institutions) and at-risk young people for responsible and safe migration through improving legal literacy and providing information about educational and further safe job opportunities. More than half of the project beneficiaries (60%) received access to long-term guaranteed state services (medical, social etc.), and Oasis’s sustainable programmes: Youth Support Programme, Educational Programme Bilim-Belek. In addition, 84 social workers and social pedagogues from orphanages and state agencies increased their capacity and knowledge in the field of post-institutional support for care leavers, the re-integration of at-risk young people, and trauma-informed/gender-sensitive/child-friendly approaches in working with vulnerable children and young people.
|Picture 1. Project participants at Oasis’s Human Rights School
The project also allowed us to mprove cooperation with the Ministry of Labour, Social Welfare and Migration, the Ministry of Education and Science, and local and international organisations These partnerships allowed our organisation to conduct all our planned activities on time and fulfill all our planned objectives for this project. Later, the Ministry of Education and Science asked the Oasis Foundation to conduct virtual online training for 450 social pedagogues as we had received so much positive feedbacks from previous participants. We planned several online educational training sessions on child protection topics in May 2023. In addition, the British Embassy in the Kyrgyz Republic helped the Oasis Foundation to organise several workshops in art therapy for more than 30 specialists from state and private orphanages, and schools from vulnerable communities
|Training for directors and social workers of residential institutions on post institutional assistance of care leavers
We had not expected that among the project participants we would identify many victims of violence and trafficking. All these children received access to Oasis’s programmes and projects providing direct comprehensive support and rehabilitation services. In supporting victims of violence Oasis involved representatives of social services, lawyers, and various partner organisations. As most social workers and social pedagogues did not know about the role of the national referral mechanism in identification of victims of violence, including child trafficking, Oasis staff conducted several online in-service training sessions and consultations for social services on the following topics: psychological trauma; identification of victims of violence/child trafficking; the national referral mechanism in assisting victims of violence.
It should be noted that the Oasis Foundation is one of three organizations in Kyrgyzstan that not only work on post-institutional support for care leavers, but also try to promote legislative changes to improve the situation of vulnerable children, and combat child trafficking among at-risk youth in close partnership with the Ministry of Labour, Social Welfare, and Migration. The Oasis Foundation will continue to work with residential institutions, rehabilitation and crisis centres, ministries, and civil society organisations. We will carry the mission further with more extensive outreach and raise awareness of care leavers’ rights and opportunities.
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Facebook: Oasis Kyrgyzstan
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Photos by Askat Chynaly