No child aspires a life of crime and detention. If offered the right knowledge, skills and support, every child chooses a healthy, positive future.
Byounique Trust is a non-profit organization that offers professional support to children and youths at risk or in conflict with the law. Our vision is that no child changes from tough sentences in inhuman circumstances. But a child will surely change if he/she learns positive Life Skills. Our holistic, cost-effective, evidence-based programs have already supported hundreds of children and youths to a positive future.
Why does Byounique exist
World-wide, children and youths who have committed (petty) offences are detained in unsafe and inhuman circumstances. With the perception that harsh punishment will teach them a lesson. In reality, it frightens, traumatizes and isolates children, and prevents them from building a good future. In Malawi, the child justice system is still focused on punishment and retribution. Our projects aim to create a focus on prevention and rehabilitation. To ensure that children who made mistakes still receive a chance on a good future.
Why does Byounique work in Malawi
Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world. Over 40% of the people faces extreme poverty. Youths up to 24 years old form 67% of the population. They suffer from poverty and its consequences: hunger, school drop-out, domestic violence and harmful traditions like initiation rites, youth marriages and young parenthood. Many children seek their fortune in the streets, where they encounter risk factors like negative peers, alcohol & drugs, boredom and child crime. If arrested, they dearly suffer. While poverty plays a role, the key factors to make children suffer are lack of knowledge, organization and support amogst children, parents, police, judiciary and within communities. Positively, these parties acknowledge their challenges and are open to change. Giving us all confidence that our projects can indeed help to create a sustainable child justice system that focusses on prevention and rehabilitation.
Our organisation structure
Byounique Trust, in Malawi, was founded in November 2011. The board consists of 5 volunteer members. In 2020 we work in/around 4 cities: Mangochi, Zomba, Blantyre and Nchalo. Our team of Malawian social workers is specifically trained in the Byounique methodology, approach and values.
Our local, Dutch program manager supports the teams and directly monitors the project results and financial accountability.
Stichting Byounique was founded in July 2011. The board consists of 3 volunteer members:
Key tasks of the board are:
Monitor the activities in Malawi
Promotion of Byounique
Via our competence-based method, our beneficiaries strengthen their qualities, build strong support networks and feel empowered and confident to bring positive changes to their lives.
Our 8 core target groups:
Grow up in safe environments and remain in school
Learn a skill and earn an income for themselves and their families
Lovingly raise their children and offer them all chances to develop
Counsel children and families or refer them to professional care
Support vulnerable children and prevent/abolish harmful practices
Act lawfully and stimulate positive reintegration of youths
Make counselling, legal support and training available in remote areas
Support vulnerable children and warmly welcome released youths
Our project choice
Our focus on improving child justice systems helps us to implement highly goal-oriented projects in this specific field.
We use specific selection criteria to select projects:
There is demand for the project
The project improves the situation of vulnerable children at risk
The project strengthens the legal status of children in conflict with the law
The project improves the circumstances and future prospects of children at police and youth prisons
The project facilitates partnerships with local organizations and local initiatives
The project results are sustainable, concrete and measurable
Long term strategy: sustainable through handover to local organisation
Byounique Trust implements projects in Malawi that ideally would be implemented by the Malawian government. However, at present, the Malawian government lacks the knowledge and financial means for this. With our projects, we aim to embed successful projects that government or local institutions can in time easily take over. Therefore, we actively train partners, delegate specific tasks and actively discuss the implementation of our activities. By step by step handing over more project responsibilities to our partners we aim to fully hand over every project, both in project implementation and financial management, to a local partner after a maximum of 5 years.
Annually, our projects directly support about 5.000 children and youths. The most intensive projects are legal support, diversion, prison reintegration, counselling children at risk and troubled families and our training centers. Every year, about 2.500 children, youths, families, schools and communities participate in these projects.
Indirectly, our school- and outreach activities, theatre-performances and (social) media coverages educate peers, parents, teachers, community members and partners about child protection, child justice and how they can support children and prevent child crime. These awareness activities are a key component of our work, as prevention is still better than cure. We are proud that our activities enable at least 7.500 persons per year to change their attitude and actions.
Of course, our impact is best described by our beneficiaries:
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“I was doing OK, until my father died and my mother failed to pay school fees. Instead of helping my mom, I turned to the streets and tried to do some piece works. I wanted to make easy money and stole a phone. I was enrolled in the diversion program and now Byounique supports me in school. My mother is very proud of me!”
Pemphero – Mangochi
“I had been innocently on remand for 5 years. Byounique made my case go to court. I was immediately released. At Mikuyu I had participated in the Byounique barber training, I now have my own barber shop. I had given up hope to ever be out. Thanks to Byounique I now have a good life.”
Chifundo - Mikuyu