The Family Home La Solidarité is a small-scale living community in the village of Kénouhoué in southern Benin. Since 2015 Gilbert and his wife Antoinette have lived together with about twenty-five children between the ages of 4 and 18. All children share the same background: they are all brides of a Voodoo who have lived in a Voodoo convent where they had their training to become a priest or priestess.
As a voodoo man as well as in his capacity of juvenile lawyer, Gilbert feels a strong concern for the children residing or having resided in Voodoo convents and is committed to limiting the period of time they must live in the convents to a minimum. Once all the necessary initiation ceremonies have taken place, most children go back to their parents. For the children who have lost their parents and who have no home to return to, Gilbert has founded the Family Home La Solidarité.
Gilbert continues to use his best efforts to succeed in placing these children with relatives if he finds the situation acceptable for the child. This is partly the reason why the Family Home can remain a small-scale initiative accommodating rarely more than thirty children. The Family Home is a close-knit living community where everyone helps out by doing daily household chores and all children attend school or receive vocational training.
lthough the Family Home has officially been recognised by the Benin government, the project receives no financial support from the state. Ends are met thanks to a part of Gilbert’s salary for his work as a lawyer (€ 300 per month) and occasional gifts from the local community. However, this is not sufficient to cover the expenses and there are always outstanding debts to school or market women.
In order to help reduce the financial burdens of the Family Home, we would like to contribute to the monthly recurring expenses of food, school fees and medical costs. That is why the Foundation is recruiting people willing to become a Friend of the Family Home and give their support by paying a once only or monthly contribution.
SUSTAINABILITY AND SELF-SUFFICIENCY
In addition to direct financial support, we also plan to realize sustainable changes contributing to self-sufficiency.
Since January 2017, thanks to donations of various funds we have been able to realize larger projects:
• solar energy panels
• water well
• maize mill
• planting a a vegetable garden
• agricultural training