FID aims to establish a small children’s home to take between 50 to 60 children and a school to facilitate up to 100 children. It will cater for children from underprivileged backgrounds and those children who have lost one or both parents. The school will provide education in the English curriculum.
The Mariama Kunda Children’s Home & School will be developed based on a modular concept. Rather than have the traditional model of an orphanage with large dormitories separated by gender, it has chosen to construct separate “family homes”. This model has several advantages over the traditional dormitory model.
First, the initial build requires the construction of an administrative building and the erection of the first four family units. The family units consists of four bedrooms that can accommodate up to sixteen children (depending on their ages), staff quarters for one “home mother” and the usual common areas found in a standard family home (living room, dining room, kitchen and bathrooms). As the need arises and funds become available additional units will be build on additional lands to be made available in the future and be serviced by the central administrative building.
Secondly, this model attempts to recreate a near real home environment for the children it provides care for. The children housed within an individual unit will be encouraged to see each other within the unit as their sibling, the house mother as their parent (in locus par antis) and the occupants of the other units as neighbours. The house mother will be given some degree of freedom on how she runs her home. The overall aim of this is to reduce or even eliminate the feel and stigmata associated with “institutionalisation”.
Thirdly, this model of separate “family homes” can help greatly with the containment of infectious diseases within a home rather than allowing it to spread throughout the whole children’s home. It also allows greater age diversity as opposed to having children grouped by ages as is seen in the traditional orphanage model.
As a general children’s home, FID will seek full state approval for its facilities and consequently make places available to children referred by the state. However, the home will to be able to accommodate children serving court imposed care orders or children suffering from terminal illnesses. Nevertheless, children with physical or learning disabilities will be catered for. In addition to state referrals, the home will also admit children referred from other children’s charities as well as direct referrals from local families.