It is no secret that a child needs more for a healthy development than a roof over its head, having food on the table and healthcare. Tender loving care, bonding and feeling accepted as you are, being welcome. These are the important factors for a happy life, especially when a child is growing up without their family.
There are important studies and scientific insights about the severe consequences of of babies and toddlers being neglected. Child negligence is causing irreversible damage with a lifelong psychological effect.
We at Uplift are positive that these irreversible damages can be mostly avoided. Our experience and the outcome of our work have shown that early systematic intervention is providing what children need the most for a healthy development, which is: loving care, therapeutic support and most of all somebody by their side. More than anybody else, children in institutionalized care need a person that is reliable and there for them. They want to be called by their names and they need a caregiver who provides undivided attention and affection. Every child also needs comfort. Hugging, speaking to, listening, playing, feeding, bathing, maybe even a massage or a little dance?! At Uplift the person in focus is always the child. It is the centre of our attention, everyday. Not all day long but a certain time every day. During this time the Uplift-mother is there for the child. And how are the children reacting? They come to trust, they emerge from the depth of apathy, which protected them so far from disappointment. They exchange emptiness for hope. For them it is worth to wait; I am important, I am valuable. And I am allowed to step out of line.
My Uplift-mother will come and be with me. She might argue with me but also give me a hug. Even from distance I recognize her voice.
And what is happening with those women, the Uplift-mothers, who are setting the weakest members of society literally back on their feet? They are experiencing that their assistance and passion is changing the children’s fateful situation to the better. Those women become strong and self-confident because they experience themselves as a motor for a positive development of the children. They provide these children with a very important chance that might bring the crucial change: To leave the orphanage and being adopted by a family.
Uplift-mothers are no medical or therapeutic professionals. They are ordinary women from the neighbourhood, living in rural areas close to the children’s homes. But they are well equipped for their job, the loving care of abandoned children, showing love and understanding. They are dedicated moms themselves, know about hardship and shortcomings and have in most cases experience in caring for ill or handicapped people. When they become Uplift-mothers, it is not understood as a purely breadwinning assignment, but as a vocation. Through personal contact and bonding with the child they develop a sense of the individual mental and physical needs of the children, understanding what it means to grow up in an orphanage.
They recognize the potential of the children and at the same time often hit the wall in regards of what can be achieved.
Loving care and spending time with the children is the foundation for their wellbeing. But what can you do, if the children are in need of therapeutic support and guidance and there are no trained nursing personnel?
The answer is: Developing Competency. Uplift-mothers are being up-skilled by practical and theoretical training units on a regular basis. A module about touch is part of the basic education here. Uplift-mothers are being trained in baby massage, an essential approach for children growing up in orphanages, which Alexandra Walz has taught and propagated in state-run children’s homes in Kyrgyzstan since 2003. Furthermore the training is about more specific knowledge, particularly physiotherapy.
It is important that children with special needs get competent therapeutic support as early as possible. That’s why international specialists train Uplift-mothers continuously in theory and practice on the job to literally get the kids up on their feet again.
Some of the long-term experienced Uplift-mothers, after an intense on-the-job training, will be charged to carry their knowledge and experience further. These so-called Uplift-multipliers work with children and parents in kindergartens, self-help groups or with impacted families at home in a consultative- therapeutic manner. Together with experts they also train less experienced Uplift-mothers and also personnel in orphanages. They continuously participate at important advanced trainings and distribute more and more knowledge throughout the country.
Achievements of the Uplift-Mother Program
The Uplift-mother program with its approach of a systematic early intervention has achieved a positive influence on the children under care in state-run homes. It is obvious that the employment of dedicated Uplift-mothers has a sustainable impact, also in the sense of a societal development. The Uplift-mothers value the experience of a mutual action and education which influences their individual behaviour and attitude as a private person. They consider themselves as multipliers and supporters not only of the Uplift programs but also of a sustainable model that also shows its impact on society.
The wage of an Uplift-mother comes to 110 Euro monthly, financed by donations and sponsorships.
The Uplift-mother program in numbers (as of December 2021)