Hope and Homes for Children
|Headquarters||East Clyffe, Salisbury, Wiltshire|
|Central and Eastern Europe, Africa|
|Mark Waddington, Chief Executive|
Number of employees
|40 UK staff|
Hope and Homes for Children (HHC) is a British registered charity working with children, their families and communities across 8 countries in Central and Eastern Europe and Africa. to help children grow up in safe and productive environments. The charity moves children out of institutions into family-based care, helps keep together families who are at risk of breakdown due to the pressures of poverty, disease or conflict and works to prevent child abandonment.
Hope and Homes for Children was established by Mark Cook, a retired colonel, and his wife Caroline. The first project was an orphanage in Croatia, in a town called Lipik. Initially he repaired war damaged orphanages before realising that what children really required was a family. Hope and Homes for children then began to pioneer the deinstitutionalisation of orphanages and children's homes They have now closed 52 institutions in nine countries, prevented around 20,000 children entering or re-entering institutions and have been key players in changing childcare systems.
The charity's stated mission is “to give hope to the poorest children in the world – those who are orphaned, abandoned or vulnerable – by enabling them to grow up within the love of a family and the security of a home, so that they can fulfil their potential”. They do this by keeping families together and avoiding separation. They also aim to reunite children with families by closing institutions, where this is not possible they set up alternative family care arrangements such as adoption, fostering and small family homes. The model of deinstitutionaliation that they have developed has been recognised as best practice by Unicef and World Health Organisation Hope and Homes for Children work in 6 countries in Eastern Europe and 2 in Africa
HHC have been developing family type homes to support the closure of institutions; they have joined the Chernobyl Children's Project to close the Gomel Baby Home
Bosnia is the first country that Hope and Homes worked in. Having initially renovated orphanages there it learnt that what children really need is a family and instead developed a model to close them with, starting with Dom Most Institution. HHC continues to support the reform of the child care system there.
A pilot institution for babies was closed at Teteven in 2010 in partnership with TBACT; it stimulated the government who then asked HHC to close eight more in the Sofia, Pernik, Montana, Ruse, Gabrovo, Targoviste, Plovdiv and Pazardzhik regions.
When HHC started working in Romania there were 100,000 children living in Romanian orphanages, and by 2010 there were less than 10,000. It is the largest programme for Hope and Homes for Children, and they have led the closure of institutions and established replacement services in several counties. Working with ARK and the Romanian Government they aim to end the institutionalisation of children by 2020.
HHC's work to close the Cupcui institution in Moldova earnt a prestigious Human Rights Award, from the United Nations Development Programme and other UN agencies, showcasing innovative initiatives promoting human rights in Moldova In 2012 they competed the closure of Sarata Noua the first institution for children with learning disabilities in Moldova. They are now focusing on two of the four baby institutions in Moldova which will cut off the supply to school age institutions, hastening their demise and ensuring children grow up in family based care.
HHC has been working in Ukraine since 1999. They have demonstrated models that the government has later adopted, such as for small family homes and mother and baby units. They closed the Makariv institution and set up replacement services to support children and families.
Having developed a number of community hubs to support vulnerable Rwandan families to stay together HHC have now completed closing Mpore PEFA Orphanage in Kigali, the first orphanage to be closed following best practice in Africa; this was done with the support of the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion.
Work is underway to reform the systems for abandoned babies in Khartoum. There has already been significant success: working with the religious community a Fatwa was issued to 'decriminalise' abandoned, illegitimate babies which allowed them to be 'adopted' within the Islamic Kafala principle. Over 2,400 babies have been placed within families rather than in institutions.
Mark Cook founded the charity and was awarded several honours including an OBE and a Heart of Gold award from Esther Rantzen; Caroline Cook was also appointed an OBE. Martin Bell OBE was with Mark Cook when he founded the organisation; he later became a patron. When Bell was injured and unable to film, Cook took over a piece to camera live on the news.
In 2010 former Defence Minister The Rt. Hon. Michael Mates with William Godfree performed Flanders and Swann songs in aid of the charity. Nick Hewer regularly supports HHC's work and visited Sierra Leone with the charity  he aimed to get a Land Cruiser donated that he could drive to Sierra Leone he announced on Twitter on 13/9/2011 it had been achieved. Alastair Humphreys organises "Nights of Adventure" on behalf of HHC
Other patrons include Kristin Scott Thomas OBE, The Rt. Hon. The Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon GCMG KBE PC, Martin Bell OBE, Arpad Busson, The Rt. Hon. The Lord Carrington KG, General The Rt Hon The Lord Dannatt KCB, CBE, MC, David Furnish, The Lady Jopling, Gordon McInally, H E Rt. Hon Donald C McKinnon, Mrs Lily Safra, The Rt Hon The Lord Selkirk of Douglas PC QC, Princess Marina Sturdza, Sam Taylor-Wood OBE, James Whiting, Claire Wright, Kate Adie OBE and Matt Bell.
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