FMN Annual Report 2019

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1.Welcome // 1.Changing Hearts&Minds 2.India // 4.Nepal // 6.Uganda 8.Financial Report // 15.Thank You


Hearts&Minds In my role as an academic, I have been able to share the story of how Forget Me Not transitioned from an orphanage to an organisation focused on child protection and care reform with many audiences in the last few years. The largest audience was at the Trust Conference in London in November 2018. The Trust Conference is the largest antitrafficking conference in the world and I was very privileged to share the story of Forget Me Not and our involvement in legislative and policy reform around the world as one of the keynote speakers. It was wonderful to also have a video presentation from Zafina, one of our Change Agents in Nepal, where she talked about the harms of institutionalisation and what it meant for her life.


Reflecting on the year that was there is one recurring feature that has been present in all aspects of our work: collaboration. Since the start of the year we have been fortunate to be working with some pretty incredible individuals and partner organisations. The work of supporting children and families takes time, effort, research, advocacy, assessment, skill and heart. Thanks to our donors, I can proudly say that Forget Me Not has all of these things in place to deliver on our mission. Our efforts are not singular and our message is that of many organisations worldwide. The key to our overall success is true collaboration. We cannot achieve our mission on our own. It is with the help of every one of our donors, partners and connections across the world and in the countries where we work. This year in partnership with the Australian Government, Hope and Homes for Children UK, Tearfund Ireland, Childaid Network Germany, Asian Aid Organisation, ACCIR and our network partners of Rethink Orphanages there is a steady, incremental change and movement occurring. The move toward family based care and an end to the orphanAge is on the horizon. Every one of our incredible donors from the smallest treasured weekly contributor to our proud strong partnership with Boom Shankar, our voice and message that ‘Children need families not orphanages’ is amplified. When we hold hands across the world and combine not just our voices but also our resources, this message is impossible to ignore! Finally, congratulations to FMNs co-founder and Director Dr Kate van Doore on the completion of your PhD. Your tireless pursuit is delivering the research that is paving the way for change for children globally. My big love and thanks to the small but mighty team behind Forget Me Not. It is your passion to be the change that pushes us on. Andrea Nave, CEO

We have continued to work with the ReThink Orphanages Network and the Australian government on moving towards reform that will make a real impact on the lives of the 8 million children currently growing up in orphanages globally. I was also asked as one of three experts to present and make recommendations to the Dutch Parliament on the issue of orphanage tourism. As the issue of orphanage trafficking has gained attention, there are more and more opportunities to present and advocate for change. In the past year, we also participated in the Save the Children Ethical Travel Conference in Melbourne and the ReThink Orphanages Australia Orphanage Tourism Conference in Perth and Brisbane.

I have spoken at several academic conferences regarding our work, including at the Cambridge Centre for Applied Research in Human Trafficking Senior Symposium, the Innovate Rights Conference held at UNSW and the Children, Migration and the Right to Health Conference at the University of Sydney. I also managed to finally complete my doctorate on orphanage trafficking, inspired and motivated by Forget Me Not’s journey. It has been such a privilege to watch how the story of Forget Me Not has the power to change hearts and minds, and I am so proud to be a part of it. Dr Kate van Doore, Co-founder & Director




Health We are so pleased and proud to report the following achievements: • complete health analysis of children’s in Rajghat project area; • fortnightly sexual health classes for women; • distributed medical supplies, essential medicine and multivitamins; • health and wellbeing screening for students; • nutrition and hygiene workshops for children and their families; We discovered the majority of children were malnourished and some showed minimal growth over the past year. The most common problems included aches including bodily pain and headache, fever of unknown origin, fungal and bacterial skin lesions, stunted growth, diarrhoea and vomiting, chronic cough, tonsillitis and cuts and bruises. We will conduct more intense screening for risk of homelessness and systems abuse.



Education is the only and permanent solution to the problems of the slums. Our goal is to educate at least one child from each family. This is a big ask for children who leave home at 4am to pick rags to sell so they can buy food to feed their family.

With generous support of Australian donors we have funded a sewing centre in Varanasi providing better employment opportunities to a group of local destitute women who are supporting children or extended family. The project provides advanced garment manufacturing training to help marginalised and differently abled women become self sufficient and engage in a sustainable livelihood through collective performance. This inclusive development program is training six women, and will grow to a group of 10-20 women.

Not all classrooms have four walls. Our pop-up schools and Brighter Futures Study Centres provide free education to thousands of children living in slums. Not only do we provide regular academic curriculum, literacy, numeracy and school-readiness programs, we also provide extra-curricular programs for personal development and increased self-esteem. This year 60 children sat entrance exams for formal schooling and 28 children passed! All 28 are now enrolled and attending school from April 2019. We have also begun weekend yoga classes for children.

Meet some of the team: Mamta is 35 and has Polio in both her legs. She supports one daughter who is in 3rd grade at Little Star School. Manita is 35 and although she has polio in both legs, she can operate a sewing machine using her left leg! Manita supports her family of six including inlaws, husband, 7yo daughter and baby boy. Kavita is 40 and has four children. Her husband sells vegetables and Kavita must pay school fees for her children. Her eldest daughter is married, her son is studying a Bachelor of Technology, third child wants to be a nurse and youngest son has just finished 10th grade. After sustaining serious burns to her arms some years ago, through stitching Neelam has been able to regain full function in one arm and partial in the other. She lives with her parents, disabled sister, and three younger brothers. Neelam has an older brother who is married and lives separately, and a sister who is also married. Another brother was killed in a motorbike accident last month. Mentors from business are also working with families in Kalyanpuri Slum to improve employment opportunities so that children are not required to work and can instead focus on their education.



Prevention Five of our brightest (Ruma, Alisha, Rashila, Dinesh and Barma) have joined our team as Change Agents from May 2019 to shine a light and bring change within our communities through our innovative collaboration with Intrepid Foundation: Ethical Tourism Collective (ETC). They are great learners and stepping into becoming storytellers and advocates spreading awareness to travellers to be responsible and not volunteer in orphanages. More young people are becoming aware of the orphanage myth and its harms to children. Change Agent Alisha recently shared her 8 year journey from orphanage to family with 48 social work students and said it made her more proud and confident in herself. Bhagwati didi, a mother of two sons (Sanju and Chandu) has become a family advocate fighting against family separation. She shared her story with the Chitwan Deputy Mayor about how the orphanage owner refused her sons to return home with her. Bhagwati’s bold voice in the Family Preservation Meet in April 2019 played a catalytic role in forcing immediate action by government officials to prioritise reunification of other children held in Asha Orphanage in Chitwan.


More than 490 young people and responsible professionals were sensitized through sessions in colleges, clubs and organizations, to rethink the impacts they have on vulnerable children by volunteering in orphanages. Twenty hotels, cafĂŠs and guesthouses were visited and informed via flyers and pamphlets on why NOT to promote orphanage tourism.

Children who came to Shakti Ghar made me stronger. I am grateful that I have been able to take care of traumatised children and help them find peace. I am lucky to have so much love and respect from all the children and am so proud I have been able to help 117 children to date // Prativa, Shakti Ghar Transit Care Manager



FMN worked alongside the Government of Nepal and provided technical and financial resources to free 160 children from three orphanages in the Kathmandu and Nawalparasi districts in November 2018 and May 2019. We welcomed 39 children between the ages of 5 to 19 years old to Shakti Ghar Transit Home for care and rehabilitation throughout the family tracing, reunification and reintegration process.

Our analysis of the available reunification information indicates feeder districts to be Humla, Mugu, Chitwan, Dhading and Surkhet. The destination districts are tourist hotspots which currently host 75% of the 533 registered orphanages and children’s homes in Nepal.

Proudly we initiated the transition of 17 institutionalised children from Kinderhaus orphanage in Ramechhap. We single-handedly found a home for all of the children and reunited them with their families where they belong.

The current trend of orphanage trafficking from the feeder villages has alarmed the Ministry and the cabinet to act with a formulated strategy toward deinstitutionalisation.

Reintegration We now have a team of 11 fearless Reintegration Officers led by an incredibly compassionate senior FMN team member Surendra, and together they left no stone unturned to find families for 72 of 75 children! Most were reunited with their parents (43) or kinship care (27) with 2 placed into foster care. We haven’t lost hope and we are trying our best to find families and loving homes for the remaining 3 children who often ask Prativa: “When is our turn to go home, didi?” Our team of superheroes have completed 318 monitoring/follow-up visits to 151 reunified children and their families in 26 districts of Nepal! Dherrai-dherrai dhanyabaad (big big thank you) to our brilliant team who never stopped, no matter the rains, landslides, long nights. Nothing stopped our team traveling and hiking to 26 out of 77 districts in Nepal to meet, mentor, share, counsel, heal and spread happiness to 151 reunified children and their families. 318 monitoring visits were conducted throughout the year to ensure that each child is thriving, vibrant and connected to family, community and opportunity. 151 children and their families were regularly counselled addressing behavioural and adjustment issues; 104 reunified children provided with education support; 50 families provided with food/tiffin stipend; and, 8 families provided with income generation assistance. Three reunified young adults were supported with vocational training namely soft toy making, barista and culinary training.

There are just a handful of organisations working alongside the Government of Nepal on rescue, family reintegration and deinstitutionalisation initiatives. FMN and THIS are key collaborators in innovation and action. Our strong partnership with Nepal’s National Child Rights Council since 2012 has proven our collective efforts with key stakeholders will co-create a child protection and alternative care system that is child focused and inclusive. The Parliamentary Committee directed the Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizens and the National Child Rights Council issued a public notice to halt the registration of children’s homes until there are standard and uniform mechanisms in place for the monitoring and regulation of children’s homes aligning with the revised Children’s Act 2018. The Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizens and Social Welfare Council are directed to cancel the registration of controversial children’s homes and orphanages with non-compliance of SOP 2012.




Prevention The Nanna Project is aimed at supporting quality and uninterrupted education for children from vulnerable families (most living with elderly grandmothers), allowing children and young people the opportunity of a bright future while staying connected with their families and community. We do this so that children are not trafficked or admitted into orphanages because we know institutionalisation harms children for life. This year has seen the progression of students in their studies. The Nanna Project supports children in Primary, Secondary and Vocational education. The aim is to support the children to a point where they are self-sustaining young adults. We currently have eight children undertaking primary schooling, from Year 3 to Year 7 equivalents, all of whom successfully transitioned into the next year level of their primary studies in the new school year in February 2019. The Year 7 children are hoping to successfully complete their primary leaving exams at the end of the year and start their secondary studies in 2020. We know from our local knowledge and understanding, and the recommendations of our team on the ground in Uganda that vocational studies are a valuable tool towards a self-sustaining future. The children take courses where they not only have interest and passions but also where there is a need within the community. Courses like catering and hospital management allow for countless employment opportunities from a onepot business supplying lunch to workers in the market place to roles in the top luxury hotels in Uganda. The same can be said for mechanical, electrical and carpentry training where students of these courses can charge for small jobs in their village all the way up to running their own business and employing staff. We are confident that these young people will be able to seek any opportunity that suits their personalities, will and determination. We are supporting students in nursing, mechanics, catering and hotel management.

Advocacy In collaboration with key child rights advocates a handbook on children’s rights has been produced and will be translated into the three major languages in Uganda. The booklets will be distributed to children and teachers across the country free of charge thanks to the NGO Norwegian Friends of Uganda. Children have a right to grow with their parents and to belong to a family. The handbook is clear that children do not belong in orphanages.

Stella courageously continues her studies while she cares for her young baby Mark. Nicholas transitioned directly from his primary studies into a vocational course in carpentry and furniture making designed specifically for young people with hearing impairments. Elvis completed one year of mechanical training and is now utilising the skills he acquired in his home village and living independently. Nambi continues to use her secretarial training to work as support staff in a primary school and support our country director Patrick on the ground in Uganda. Bwaita completed his electrical engineering course in 2018 and is currently undertaking small jobs in his village and supplementing his income by growing crops of vegetables to feed his family and sell surplus.


I studied Electrical Engineering and we celebrated graduation at the school and now they call me engineer! //Bwaita, Engineer

Reunification This year marked the significant milestone of finding a family for every child in our care. Our last remaining child whose family we have been unable to locate is now living with a foster care family. Today all the children enjoy family life like other children around the world. Children are learning significant life skills now they are home like cooking and being able to tend vegetable gardens and raise animals. They have been provided ongoing career guidance and financial assistance to reach their academic and employment goals. We have had graduates in textile studies, hotel management, food production, mechanics and most levels of primary and secondary studies. Confidence is strengthened through excellent connections to mentors, family and community that enabled brilliant results from all students no matter their course of study. Steven has been living in an orphanage for almost his entire life. Our efforts to resettle and reunite him with his father five years ago became futile when his father sent Steven back to the orphanage. Through our reunification efforts we managed to get in touch with Steven’s mother and they were reunited after eight years of separation. Today, Steven has settled well in his new school and is enjoying life with his family. As a result he has developed more confidence and speaks his mind without fear of being punished, as was the case at theVIBRANT orphanage. THRIVING CONNECTED // FAMILY COMMUNITY OPPORTUNITY
















From our hand to mouth survival back in the early days, this year has seen continued growth and unprecedented national and international recognition and support for our integrity, transparency and success in our goals to rehabilitate, reunify and reintegrate children trafficked into orphanages. Our (once embryonic) initiative of ethical tours has expanded into annual experiences that both help our causes directly and give our participants a totally unique holiday that they truly never forget. It’s a classic example of win/win. I’m convinced that such ethical tourism is the future of tourism and I’m excited to see even more imaginative trips ready to burst forth. The rise of our younger Change Agents continues as several participants have stepped up to again produce valuable annual events in support of the cause FMNs quest of reuniting innocent children back to their families and homelands, where they belong, continues. Our fight isn’t over, it may never be, but we are blessed more success for our hard work than we ever imagined. And we have always had great imaginations. The sky’s no longer the limit. Time to push thru that now. My true heartfelt thanks to all support – past, present and future. Pete Mackay, Director

My thanks go to everyone who continues to support and donate to FMN; from our original donors who are still contributing, the tireless efforts of our teams in Australia and overseas, those who organise fundraising events like the Colour Stampede in Hervey Bay, Caloundra Zonta Club, our new partners and my mum Dawn Biggs! //Greg Biggs, Director


I am more proud every moment to have the best job in the world: reuniting children in families. The Forget Me Not story and its transformation is my inspiration. It is bold, fearless and continues to influence and change the world for children. Thank you! //Anju Pun, Nepal Country Director

Thank you for caring for us and minding about our families - it worried me all my life that I didn’t have a family. //Grace, Uganda



-raising children to be thriving, vibrant and connected to family, community and opportunity-

Charity Number CH1521 ACN 610 061 679 ABN 55 469 493 449 We are a registered charity with Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status, all donations made to Forget Me Not over $2 are tax-deductible within Australia.

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