Accompanied by the Minister of Gender, Family and Social Services Aishath Mohamed Didi, 11 children under the state’s care were, on Sunday, transferred to the island-atoll Fuvahmulah City.
The children were previously housed at Kudakudhinge Hiyaa located in Vilimale’ and Fiyavathi in reclaimed Hulhumale’.
According to the Ministry of Gender, Family and Social Services, the move is part of a relocation programme initiated by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s administration, to provide a safer and healthier environment for children placed under state care.
Upon their arrival, the 11 children were moved to a residence dubbed ‘Amaan Hiyaa’, facilitated by the government, along with five additional children who were previously placed with the island’s Family and Children Service Centre (FCSC).
During the trip, the Gender Minister spoke in appreciation of FCSC’s staff and encouraged their hard work.
Minister Aishath will stay on the island to oversee the children’s transition to their new home for an additional day prior to returning to other duties.
Last year, on December 24, the state transferred a batch of 17 children to another Amaan Hiyaa established in Baa Atoll’s Eydhafushi.
More recently on January 6, the minister escorted a further 16 children to the Amaan Hiyaa located in Funadhoo, Shaviyani Atoll.
In addition, the state has revealed plans to relocate more children to Dhihdhoo in Haa Alif Atoll and Kudahuvadhoo in Dhaalu Atoll, where additional residences are to be built.
Earlier, during an interview given to local media Mihaaru, Gender Minister Aishath stated that the motive of this relocation is to shift the children to a spacious environment from the congested living blocks in Male’ region, and ensure that they receive love and care from the public.
The minister stated that the children in Amaan Hiyaa will have the opportunities that all children share, in addition to visiting other families and play-time with other children.
“However, caretakers will always be around them. The children will be monitored by the council, the health facilities, the school and police”, she added, noting that the children’s protection will be guaranteed.
The building and furnishing of Fuvahmulah’s Amaan Hiyaa shared-home was a collaborative effort between relevant authorities and the island’s communities. Local furniture retail business ‘SunFront’ continues to support the state-led initiative, under the company’s corporate social responsibility directive.
Once they reach 13 years of age, the children in Fiyavathi are shifted to the Kudakudhinge Hiyaa in Vilimale’, where they remain until they reach adulthood, as per law. However, this policy has led to the separation of siblings for extended periods of time, depending on their age gaps.
In an earlier statement, Gender Minister Aishath acknowledged that the policy affected familial relationships, and expressed her hopes that the government’s new project of relocating the minors to islands would help prevent such separations.