Somerset

Farmborough family in Mozambique foster home move

Becky, Jonny, Gracie-Anna and Honour Wakely with friends on a previous visit to Mozambique Image copyright Contributed pic
Image caption Becky and Johnny Wakely have already spent time in Mozambique with their two daughters, Gracie and Honor

A Somerset couple are preparing to move their family to Mozambique to follow their dream of setting up foster care homes in its capital city, Maputo.

Becky and Jonny Wakely have previously worked in a children's centre in the African country.

But they say foster care will be more effective than setting up another orphanage as local youngsters will be able to grow up in a family setting.

They plan to move in August with their three young children.

The Wakelys, from Farmborough, near Bath, said their eldest children - Gracie, eight, and Honor, five - had already spent time in Mozambique with them. Their youngest, one-year-old Josiah, is going too.

"After we got married, we heard about a project that was happening in Mozambique and, at that time, Becky was teaching at a primary school and I was working for the council," Mr Wakely said.

"We used our Easter holidays to go and visit children's centres in Mozambique and didn't look back from there."

Image copyright Contributed pic
Image caption Jonny Wakely said he and his wife had previously done voluntary work at a children's centre in Maputo

Mrs Wakely said: "From day one, just being around children who don't have a family, don't have a stable upbringing, don't have the level of support that you have in this country - both of us felt like we had something to give.

"One of the issues we recognised with the children's centre where we were working is, whilst the care for the children is much better than they would obviously receive on the streets or in other local orphanages, what they weren't receiving was a great ratio of parent to child.

"We would watch them hit the age of 18 and try and transition into community living and, because they had grown up in a children's centre their whole life, they couldn't do it. Many of them had been institutionalised.

"We were particularly upset watching child after child, or young adult, end up in prison."

Image copyright Contributed pic
Image caption Becky Wakely said that as a former primary school teacher she could home school her daughters Gracie and Honor

Their project, Tutela, was granted charity status in January.

Mrs Wakely said they needed about £70,000 to get the project off the ground and would spend the next few months fundraising and networking.

Of her own children's future, Mrs Wakely said: "We are hesitant about putting them into a local Mozambiquan school; class sizes are very big and obviously the teaching is in Portuguese.

"We would love them to be able to go to an international school but the fees are astronomical... we can always fall back on the fact I can home school."

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