Peregraf Is Anchored on Trust

Leaving government support and ending up on the streets

Leaving government support and ending up on the streets
A trip of Children House of Sulaimanyah to Qaradax resort/ 2016. Photo: The website of Social Development and Supervision

Peregraf- Sangar Salar

Deprived of their parents’ love during their childhood, homeless boys and girls leave government houses and search for alternative shelters as they step into their adolescence.

The children who do not have close relatives to take them in are educated under government supervision. But this supervision lasts until adolescence, notably until the age of 18, and they cannot be accommodated afterwards.

Orphanages or Children Houses consist of two sections based on age; new-born to 4 years old are placed in Infant House, from 4 to 18 years old are placed in the Teenage House.

Omer Gulpi, the Director General of Social Development and Supervision, states the conditions that restrict accepting children and their doors are open to those who have lost their family structure and need shelter for education and development, or those for whom the court has decided to be placed in an orphanage as they might be facing threats.

According to the statistics that Peregraf has gathered, in Erbil orphanage there are 41 homeless children, 41 in Sulaymaniyah and 45 in Duhok.

This House operates in accordance to the 1986 Iraqi bylaw that allows children to stay at the Houses until the age of 18.

Gulpi says "if needs be, and the adult continues his or her studies, he or she can stay until the age of 20 but beyond this threshold, the adult is expected to depend on himself or herself."

What is considered as a problem in the House is the fact that the adults have to leave even if they do not earn any income or have any place to stay.

Yusif Chawshin, the Director General of Social Development and Supervision in Erbil, told Peregraf "we have five homeless adults in the House who have exceeded 18 years and we have taken them in as volunteer workers in the House and in return we give them a place to stay."

The people involved in the case explain that "out of legal regulations, only in terms of humanitarian aid, the adults are dealt with until they can find a shelter and a job."

Sarnj Hama Saed, Director General of Social Development and Supervision in Sulaymaniyah, told Peregraf "even if the homeless adults who exceed 18 years come to our Houses we cannot take them in because it is illegal and there are no other places that would accept them either."

In accordance with the regulations of the orphanage, the connection between the children and the House ends as soon as the child reaches 18. In other circumstances, the child is allowed to stay for one extra year if he or she is to finish schooling in one year.

According to the speech of Director General of Social Development and Supervision in Sulaymaniyah, they try to help the homeless adults to find a job or to find someone who will help them by giving them a job or a place to stay.

Several seminars and campaigns have been held to solve the problems of homeless adults but nothing has changed on the ground.

Samira Muhammad, a human rights activist and a civil society trainer, states that they are well-aware about the case and they know that the children in the Orphanage become distressed as their age draw near to 18, because they know they will be homeless.

Samira says "often the employees at the General Directorate of Social Supervision and Development take the problems of these children as their personal problems and try to arrange marriage for them so they will not be homeless. Sometimes the girls try to get married before they reach 18 with the hope to find a place to stay."

The activist does not consider this a proper marriage because the society does not respect those people, as she states "the girls might be made to feel inferior to their husband as I know many such cases."

The bylaws and regulations of the orphanages have been under critique and activists have been asking for the amendment of such laws so that they match with contemporary social orders.

Sarnj Hama Saed thinks that the law is acceptable to some extent but it needs to be amended and says "since 2014 we sent a proposal to the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs for amending the law, but to no avail"

Up to now, the Kurdistan Region does not have any law for treating homeless children, so the Iraqi law is used instead.

Yusif Chawshin also thinks that the law needs to be amended "or Kurdistan Parliament can issue a new law, or the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs can issue new instructions."

Kurdistan Parliament and Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs are waiting for each other to come up with the new law.

Gasha Dara, the former president of the committee of society, family and children’s affairs in Kurdistan Parliament, states that the Ministry has asked to be allowed to prepare the law because they know about the details of the problem, but "they were slow in preparing the law."

The former Member of Parliament told Peregraf "we wanted to turn the proposal into a law, even if it would not have been practiced then, it would have been implemented at some point in the future."

One of the solutions for homeless children is foster families who can guarantee the child’s wellbeing and development. This approach has been practiced in Sulaymaniyah since 2017 especially for newborns to 4 years old.

Omer Gulpi explained "in 2018, four children left the House and went to alternative families, altogether it accounted to 8 children who have been placed in foster families."

According to the project, any family can adopt a homeless child in accordance with the regulations. Since the families usually want a young child, only the young ones benefit in this project.

Activists believe that foster families are a good step. They also believe that the problem is in the Kurdish society where families do not adopt homeless adults, "they think that adult minds have already been shaped and they will not be loyal to the family."

Orphanages attempt to fill the familial gap for the homeless children and provide them with rights to have an education like every child.

Samira Muhammad has a proposal to lessen the burden of homeless adults through study opportunities, "there should be special offers and scholarships for those adults like the children of martyred families." She also asks to impose on companies and the private sector to assign some of their offers for homeless adults so they will not be unemployed. She also suggests arranging marriage for them when they attain a suitable age.

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Leaving government support and ending up on the streets

2019-04-21 11:39:01

Peregraf- Sangar Salar

Deprived of their parents’ love during their childhood, homeless boys and girls leave government houses and search for alternative shelters as they step into their adolescence.

The children who do not have close relatives to take them in are educated under government supervision. But this supervision lasts until adolescence, notably until the age of 18, and they cannot be accommodated afterwards.

Orphanages or Children Houses consist of two sections based on age; new-born to 4 years old are placed in Infant House, from 4 to 18 years old are placed in the Teenage House.

Omer Gulpi, the Director General of Social Development and Supervision, states the conditions that restrict accepting children and their doors are open to those who have lost their family structure and need shelter for education and development, or those for whom the court has decided to be placed in an orphanage as they might be facing threats.

According to the statistics that Peregraf has gathered, in Erbil orphanage there are 41 homeless children, 41 in Sulaymaniyah and 45 in Duhok.

This House operates in accordance to the 1986 Iraqi bylaw that allows children to stay at the Houses until the age of 18.

Gulpi says "if needs be, and the adult continues his or her studies, he or she can stay until the age of 20 but beyond this threshold, the adult is expected to depend on himself or herself."

What is considered as a problem in the House is the fact that the adults have to leave even if they do not earn any income or have any place to stay.

Yusif Chawshin, the Director General of Social Development and Supervision in Erbil, told Peregraf "we have five homeless adults in the House who have exceeded 18 years and we have taken them in as volunteer workers in the House and in return we give them a place to stay."

The people involved in the case explain that "out of legal regulations, only in terms of humanitarian aid, the adults are dealt with until they can find a shelter and a job."

Sarnj Hama Saed, Director General of Social Development and Supervision in Sulaymaniyah, told Peregraf "even if the homeless adults who exceed 18 years come to our Houses we cannot take them in because it is illegal and there are no other places that would accept them either."

In accordance with the regulations of the orphanage, the connection between the children and the House ends as soon as the child reaches 18. In other circumstances, the child is allowed to stay for one extra year if he or she is to finish schooling in one year.

According to the speech of Director General of Social Development and Supervision in Sulaymaniyah, they try to help the homeless adults to find a job or to find someone who will help them by giving them a job or a place to stay.

Several seminars and campaigns have been held to solve the problems of homeless adults but nothing has changed on the ground.

Samira Muhammad, a human rights activist and a civil society trainer, states that they are well-aware about the case and they know that the children in the Orphanage become distressed as their age draw near to 18, because they know they will be homeless.

Samira says "often the employees at the General Directorate of Social Supervision and Development take the problems of these children as their personal problems and try to arrange marriage for them so they will not be homeless. Sometimes the girls try to get married before they reach 18 with the hope to find a place to stay."

The activist does not consider this a proper marriage because the society does not respect those people, as she states "the girls might be made to feel inferior to their husband as I know many such cases."

The bylaws and regulations of the orphanages have been under critique and activists have been asking for the amendment of such laws so that they match with contemporary social orders.

Sarnj Hama Saed thinks that the law is acceptable to some extent but it needs to be amended and says "since 2014 we sent a proposal to the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs for amending the law, but to no avail"

Up to now, the Kurdistan Region does not have any law for treating homeless children, so the Iraqi law is used instead.

Yusif Chawshin also thinks that the law needs to be amended "or Kurdistan Parliament can issue a new law, or the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs can issue new instructions."

Kurdistan Parliament and Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs are waiting for each other to come up with the new law.

Gasha Dara, the former president of the committee of society, family and children’s affairs in Kurdistan Parliament, states that the Ministry has asked to be allowed to prepare the law because they know about the details of the problem, but "they were slow in preparing the law."

The former Member of Parliament told Peregraf "we wanted to turn the proposal into a law, even if it would not have been practiced then, it would have been implemented at some point in the future."

One of the solutions for homeless children is foster families who can guarantee the child’s wellbeing and development. This approach has been practiced in Sulaymaniyah since 2017 especially for newborns to 4 years old.

Omer Gulpi explained "in 2018, four children left the House and went to alternative families, altogether it accounted to 8 children who have been placed in foster families."

According to the project, any family can adopt a homeless child in accordance with the regulations. Since the families usually want a young child, only the young ones benefit in this project.

Activists believe that foster families are a good step. They also believe that the problem is in the Kurdish society where families do not adopt homeless adults, "they think that adult minds have already been shaped and they will not be loyal to the family."

Orphanages attempt to fill the familial gap for the homeless children and provide them with rights to have an education like every child.

Samira Muhammad has a proposal to lessen the burden of homeless adults through study opportunities, "there should be special offers and scholarships for those adults like the children of martyred families." She also asks to impose on companies and the private sector to assign some of their offers for homeless adults so they will not be unemployed. She also suggests arranging marriage for them when they attain a suitable age.