I am very excited to welcome you to the Initiative for Children at Risk Africa! It is called ICARA, for short. We are a very new organization, established in August of 2014, created to better the lives of orphaned and vulnerable children in Africa.
We are celebrating our first Christmas with the news this week that we have been granted tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status by the IRS. That means that any gifts or contributions are fully tax deductible, and have been since August 2014.
In January 2015, ICARA will be training Compassion Kenya childcare staff gathered in Nairobi. A second training will be held with a group of grass-roots organizations, caring for children, without much external support. Patrice Penney, our Executive Director, will be leading the trainings. She is also looking forward to reuniting with former students who will be joining her to become trained as future trainers in the region. Training trainers enables us to multiply the effect on the ground in Africa.
Recent research (by the POFO project at Duke University) has looked at outcomes for orphans in several low-income countries, including Kenya and Tanzania. While it has not found a significant difference between the outcomes for orphaned children cared for by family members and those cared for in orphanages, in both settings, the researchers highlighted the need for a better standard of care. One that understands the trauma, in particular, that has negatively impacted these children.
It is our mission to do just that. We come alongside those caring for orphaned and vulnerable children in extended family, orphanages, and other community settings, and help them understand their needs and how to intervene to address the trauma and loss the children have experienced. Children who have experienced the traumatic loss of parents, and other traumatic events, need to heal, as their brains are developing. The sooner the better for positive outcomes into adulthood.
To learn more about the studies, go to http://chpir.org/_homepage-content/research/pofo. To learn more about the Initiative for Children at Risk Africa, go to the other pages of our website.
We are so glad for your interest in ICARA, and hope you will find our mission to be a compelling way to be involved in a cause worthy of all of our concern--better care of African orphaned and vulnerable children. Please share ICARA with others as we build a network of friends committed to this mission.
Together, on behalf of African children,
Patrice Penney, MSW, LCSW