Oasis, in cooperation with the Public Union Our Voice, plan to work with the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic to amend the legislation and to promote the effective implementation of laws to improve the situation of young people leaving residential care. This initiative is supported by the Collaborative Government Program funded by the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom.
As a part of the “Care Leavers Advocacy Project”, The Public Charitable Foundation Oasis and the Public Union Our Voice will analyze existing legislation and develop recommendations to the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic on necessary support for care leavers. In addition, civil society organizations will help to identify a single agency to be responsible for the social integration of care leavers into society and to improve the interaction between government agencies, NGOs, and the media to raise public awareness of the issues and “stigma” faced by care leavers.
According to UNICEF, 11,000 children and adolescents are being brought up in orphanages and residential institutions in the Kyrgyz Republic. Each year an average of 450 young people aged 15-18 ‘graduate’ from these institutions. The vast majority of young people in institutions (88%) have families, but do not have any contact with them.
The Kyrgyz Republic’s legislative system does not recognize the rights of these young people to any support. No single government body is responsible for the social integration of care leavers after they leave orphanages and residential institutions. Social workers are not trained on supporting such children. According to the law, children officially rejected by their parents are not recognized as orphans and consequently they are not eligible for any additional government support.
As care leavers are released from their respective institutions without any government support, they are often unable to cope with the socio-economic problems they encounter. According to the research on rights and needs of care leavers conducted by Oasis and Our Voice in 2015, 91% of care leavers move to towns and cities in the Kyrgyz Republic where they become vulnerable to involvement in crime, prostitution, illegal substances, and/or human trafficking.
These research findings were presented at the meeting of the Parliamentary Committee for human rights where initial decisions were made to improve the legislation and create a unified database of care leavers. However, to date, the responsible government agencies have not taken any meaningful steps to enforce the decision of that committee.
This project is supported by the Collaborative Governance Program (CGP) promoting effective collaboration among civil society, the private sector, and the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic. The Program is funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and UK Department for International Development (DFID), and implemented by East-West Management Institute (EWMI).