FACE Founder and Executive Director, Flavia Shaw-Jackson has always felt deeply affected by the suffering and distress of the world’s children and the hopeless situation of many developing countries.
"I took a baby in my arms and asked why he had so many wounds and scars on his face and body. I was told that he had been abandoned in the street when he was born and had been mauled by dogs and cats. It was a terrible shock and I decided that I would never give up."
Cairo, January 2003
FACE was born that day.
In 2003, Flavia decided to go to Cairo to see how she could help children there. She visited many orphanages and slums in and around Cairo. She used her time to research in-depth the various possibilities to help efficiently, set about meeting local authorities, Ministries, the Egyptian Embassy in Belgium, the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM), as well as experts in the field of young children. She put together a solid file on the precise situation and drew up a financial plan.
FACE started working with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Social Affaires in 2003 to upgrade two government institutions run with extremely poor standards and resources. FACE work allowed to improve the conditions and capacity of the staff in both orphanages and FACE supported the Ministry of Health (MoH) and Ministry of Social Affairs (MoSA) to improve three other centers, for abandoned babies (in Maadi) and for abandoned children and orphans in Benha and Obour.
Besides this initial objective, FACE started working with street children in Cairo, in 2007, following a request from the NCCM. After one year of exclusive street outreach work, FACE started developing different services to answer the needs of street children. FACE has received technical support from Friends-International, an organisation with extensive experience in implementing street children support programs. FACE street children has rapidly developed and extended its services; in 2014, an external evaluation of the project has showed that the FACE street children program has become a model among child protection organisations in Egypt.
Along these 10 years of working within the child protection system in Egypt, FACE has explored a number of placement options and has realised the important gaps related to the placement of institutionalised children into family based care. This observation has pushed FACE to initiate researches in 2011, and to start raising awareness with Egyptian authorities about the negative effects of institutionalisation on children and the need to develop alternative care and family based care in Egypt.
In 2015, FACE has decided to take a strategic turn and to start orienting its programs toward deinstitutionalising its programs and moving toward programs promoting family based care options.
This turn is happening gradually and aim at the following objectives:
Putting in place programs of prevention of children abandonment and institutional placement though better information for families and family support projects;
Creation of a team of social workers specialised in family reintegration of children in institutions (in their families or in foster families/Kafala);
Support to Egyptian authorities (mainly MoH and MoSS) to develop the system of placement into foster care/Kafala;
Support government childcare institutions for family/foster family placement.
FACE believes children should not grow up in institutions and aims at working on different levels of the Egyptian society to transform the current childcare institution system into a system of placement into family/foster care, in order to enable children to grow inside families and to have more positive future.