Ugandans Adopt

adoption Uncategorized

Part two of Interview with a Social Worker: Emmanuel Shanyolah

Good social work is core to a smooth  adoption or fostering  process. Below we bring you the second excerpt of Social Worker Emmanuel’s interview. Emmanuel works with children and has been in  the adoption and fostering field for years now. We hope you will enjoy the interview like we did:
In Social work, the child’s interests are   paramount. What does that mean to you ? How do you apply it in your daily work?

We do everything possible to promote the welfare and well-being of our children. We’ve put structures in place that ensure each child is able to realise their full potential – now and as they grow up. My job means making decisions every day that will affect a child’s life. The question I always ask myself is: in whose interest is my decision? My answer should always be the child’s. For example, we had to make a very difficult decision to separate one our children from his foster mother’s care after discovering the dangers he was exposed to.

 How do you work with families in these situations? Do you encounter any difficulties? 

It’s very important that we try and help them understand the reasons why we are separating them. We meet with the child’s family to discuss the importance of child safety. We emphasise the needs of their child and the dangers they will be exposed to if something is not done immediately. Sometimes it might only be temporary as there are often opportunities to work with the family and improve their living conditions or otherwise. So there can be hope, too.

Emma at work
Emma with new arrival Ivan at a hospital where he was abandoned

At Ugandan’s Adopt we advocate for children being in families through  domestic adoption and fostering: what do you think about this?

I think it’s a great thing that Ugandan children are being taken on and adopted by fellow Ugandans. Uganda doesn’t lose on her children as a future human resource and our children will be able to remain in their native country. It’s also very important to monitor the progress of adopted families and ensure the children are happy, healthy and continuing to thrive in their care. This is made much harder if they’re adopted internationally. I am happy that Ugandans are coming up to this cause

     If you were speaking to someone who is considering adoption what would you say to them?

I would tell them they are doing a very noble thing by expending love and care to a child who needs them. The process can sometimes take longer than people expect but it is a very worthwhile and rewarding experience. Of course, adoption has its challenges but this is often no different from parenting your birth children.

Tell us about the most rewarding experience in your career so far?

It would have to be Andrew’s journey with us. He was admitted to Malaika Babies’ Home following a referral from a local police station. Andrew had been abandoned on a veranda outside someone’s home, who was known to his father. They kept him for a night with the hope that whoever left Andrew behind would come and pick him up but in the morning they reported the case to police.

As we tried to trace his family, I went back to the house where he was abandoned and discovered Andrew’s father had been in touch only two weeks before. We investigated the call logs which lead us to Andrew’s grandfather. We and told them about their grandchild which they didn’t know existed.  They were so happy! After spending time together, we successfully resettled Andrew with his extended family. We’re very pleased with progress Andrew has made and we’ve continued to support the family, helping the grandfather to expand his piggery project and increase their household income. Andrew is happy, healthy and has formed strong bonds with his family.

adoption Video

Fiona’s Rescue

On Friday  the 5th  of July  we told you that we had a new arrival at Malaika Babies’ Home, a beautiful little girl called Fiona. We received a call from the police station asking us for help and Maria, one of our social workers, went straight away. On that same Friday evening, NTV Uganda broke Fiona’s story on the evening news : Fiona’s story on NTV Uganda.

Fiona at the local police station

When children are abandoned it’s often in harrowing circumstances. We’ve had babies found in pit latrines, a bush on the side of the road, or even hidden in a plastic bag. Their mothers are usually in desperate circumstances and it’s heartbreaking these women feel they have no other choice.

When Maria arrived at the police station it soon became apparent that Fiona’s circumstances were very different – and even more shocking.

Fiona was rescued by a local night guard after he heard a disturbance at the housing development he was working at. In a half built house, he saw a man kneeling over a body and reached into his jacket pocket to pull out a flash light. The man heard the noise, grabbed the child and tried to make a run for it. The night guard screamed loudly, calling out for help and instinctively hit him on the back with a stick. He dropped the child and fled.

The night guard initially tried to chase after him but he panicked that someone else might return for the child and hurried back to the house. He rescued Fiona, who was naked and scared, and travelled with her to the local police station. The night guard initially reported attempted murder and rape but when he returned to the site the next day he noticed local herbs on the ground where Fiona had been, deliberately arranged. These herbs are commonly used for witchcraft in the area, more specifically for child sacrifice rituals. The police later found a wallet containing more herbs as well as African charms and talisman.

Fiona is estimated to be around 18 months old. She is healthy, strong and looks  to have been cared for well up until the incident. It’s likely that she was kidnapped. Efforts so far to trace her family have been unsuccessful but our social work team is working closely with the police to aid the investigation and reunite Fiona with her family.

When we found Fiona she was frightened and confused. She became instantly very attached to Maria, and now follows her carer, Edith, around everywhere.


She is traumatised by her experience, scared of people she doesn’t recognise and will only play by herself. Now she’s safe at Malaika, we’re going to nurture and care for her – helping her learn to trust again – while we search for her family.

Although this is the first case like this at Malaika Babies Home, child sacrifice is not uncommon in some areas of Uganda. Below we bring you  of Fiona’s journey at Malaika Babies Home.