CARE LEAVERS CONVENTION
This article titled ‘First Voices of the International Care Leavers Convention’ is from SOS Children’s Villages International:
‘’Why are others, not leading my life, making decisions about my life?”
“We are left alone in my place(s), with our house of thoughts. Some get lost. No one to share our thoughts with us. We are left alone.”
“We are talking success stories, those here, we are all success stories in a way. What about those who have lost their way in this journey? We need to hear and bring them into these discussions.’’
These are the first voices of care leavers coming from Europe, Asia, Middle East, and Australia. Similar needs, similar issues, and feeling left alone, coming straight from the International Care Leavers Convention that opened a little while ago.
The International Care Leavers Convention is being held in partnership with other like-minded organizations where the topic of care leavers is driven by SOS Children’s Villages. This morning’s opening session saw the attendance of over 800 participants from over 80 countries. In addition to the care leavers, it included researchers, academicians, policy makers, and other partner organizations.
The highlight of the discussion for me was the confidence of the care leavers in voicing their needs and the clarity with which they put forth their point of view, asking disturbing questions in a respectful way. So, a lot for us adults to learn from.
Having said that, these questions that the care leavers raised this morning has left me with a void as well as inspiration. In other words, a void that as privileged adults, have we done enough? Inspiration to do more: What can we do more than what we already do to address these pertinent questions? Similarly, is it sufficient to listen to the care leavers and tell them that “we are with you”? Or we have to do something different to address these important issues raised.
Findings of the Event Echo the Same for SOS BC Programs and the Youth we Engage
I believe we have a long way to go in first understanding the different dimensions that emerged from the discussions – the different dynamics and different realities that our care leavers live in. Once again it convinces me that there is a need for individualized options and then addressing them one by one.
With this first International Care Leavers Convention, SOS Children’s Villages has successfully enabled bringing the voices of the care leavers to the table, enabling researchers, academics, and policy makers to get the relevant information and collect data. Therefore, this will help in building partnerships across the spectrum to address the subject.
In conclusion, this convention is a matter of pride for SOS Children’s Villages, and my congratulations goes to each and every one of the team members that has been working hard on this event for months.
By Murthi Shubha, Deputy COO, SOS Children’s Villages International
Edited by William Brennan