At the heart of our work is the hope that all of our boys will once again be reunited with their own families. Despite prevailing beliefs about Southern Africa, most children here are not completely abandoned. Most families are expansive and welcoming to children who have experienced either trauma or adversity in their homes. We firmly believe that tapping into the existing family structure within Mozambican culture is the key to ending street living amongst our youth. Therefore, we do not operate a traditional “closed” center for boys to live at fulltime. We instead hope to instill within our boys a deeper understanding of the importance of family and offer each child the resources and opportunities to reengage their own communities when they are ready to do so.
The decision to leave the streets lies solely on our boys. When they are ready to be accompanied home, our reintegration team makes an initial visit to their last place of residence. The Masana staff interviews the family about the circumstances that have led to their child ending up on the streets and then together with the family comes up with a plan for the boy. Boys then enter our transitional housing program while they prepare to leave the streets.
When the time finally arrives for the boy to be reintroduced into a home, Masana provides them with some basic clothing and hygiene items. We also help to enroll them in school and start a small business to generate a bit of income. The reintegration team then continues to frequently visit the boy’s home for a year or longer. In these visits the family is consulted and any problems that may be arising in the household are worked through.