A huge thank you to Sentebale is in order (again!). In January 2015, TTL’s Safe Home program highlighted one of its biggest weaknesses: separation & attachment. Whilst we do everything in our power to save our clients from severe malnutrition, we fail to encourage the caregivers to visit their children whilst they are in the Safe Home.
Research has demonstrated that meeting the psychosocial needs of children is a critical element of early childhood development (ECD), and is especially critical for the health and development of children living with HIV or the effects of HIV. Psychosocial support of children also includes the attachment needs of the child, by promoting healthy interactions and bonding with their caregivers, and limiting the amount of time spent away from the caregiver during the child’s most formative years. Given the country’s current HIV epidemic, high levels of poverty, and challenging and isolated terrain, many families find it difficult to have regular contact with their children during their Safe Home rehabilitation. In order for psychosocial support of children to be sustainable, it must be carried out by a child’s primary stable caregiver. An essential element of this is the empowerment of a child’s primary caregiver through training and supervision in order to develop expertise and confidence in supporting their child in a psychosocial as well as physical manner.
The TTLF Fellow is a representative of the North American organisation Touching Tiny Lives Foundation. Based for one year in Mokhotlong, Lesotho, the TTLF Fellow serves in an administrative support capacity for the Basotho charity Touching Tiny Lives (TTL).