At the beginning of 2014 we opened the centre and welcomed the first children. The number of children was limited to eight. These were challenging cases or severely traumatized children.
The team had the opportunity to build reasonable structures. We took in children for whom all measures in the social environment had failed. These are children in greatest need, who usually end up on the streets, in prison, in slavery, prostitution or early death. Unfortunately, at that time we had to greatly reduce access to the centre and operations because of the Ebola epidemic. In 2015, the epidemic subsided and we were trained and equipped for emergencies in the meantime. In October 2015, we therefore fully resumed operations in the fenced main building by the road.
In autumn 2016 we were able to complete the construction work on the four other buildings. These buildings are situated backwards and are not visible from the road. They are fenced too and provide the necessary security for the children. With the move to the large area with the 4 buildings, we were then finally able to increase the number of children we temporarily care for at the reception centre.
The children stay at the reception centre for a maximum of twelve months. The subsequent reintegration into local, family structures is central for us. This process requires a careful approach and is very intensive. The only thing that matters is the well-being of the child. The caregivers and teachers are prepared over the course of the preceding months so that the children find a safe, caring environment in the family and are accepted and integrated in the school curriculum. The local child protection authorities are closely involved here and support us in both integration and aftercare.
We have also been running a sewing studio for single, teenage mothers without training since 2017, and a small bakery on our premises.
We have good contacts with the local population, with local aid organizations and the authorities with whom we work closely. We in Switzerland recognise and respect the enormous work that our team in Guinea is doing.