Who we are
In May 2001, following the deaths of newly arrived immigrant children including Victoria Climbie, Damilola Taylor and Jude Akapa, Debbie Ariyo a UK Civil Servant, started Africans Unite Against Child Abuse (AFRUCA) as a platform for advocating for the rights and welfare of African children. It became a registered Charity in July 2002 and a Company Limited by Guarantee in October 2001 with a Board of Trustees appointed to run the organization. In February 2020, based on the expansion in its work and activities, the Board of Trustees resolved to change the name of the charity to AFRUCA – Safeguarding Children.
We promote the well-being and protection of children and families in black and ethnic communities across the UK using a culturally-competent approach. We provide a range of prevention and early intervention services to address child abuse, child trafficking, modern slavery and exploitation. We work with others to influence policy and improve practices. We are based in London and Manchester.
The 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of The Child and various UK Child Protection legislations provide the foundation for all our work at AFRUCA. We aim to promote the best interests of the child in all our activities. Our stance is that culture and religion should never be a reason to abuse children.
Our vision is to see a world in which children from Black and Ethnic communities can live free of cruelty and abuse at the hands of others.
OUR FIVE THEMATIC WORK AREAS
- Awareness raising and sensitization: within Black and Ethnic communities and youths about children’s rights as enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international conventions and UK legislation promoting the rights and well-being of children.
- Information, education, and advisory services: to raise the profile of Black and Ethnic children in the UK, increase awareness of their needs, improve policies and practices, and develop the leadership potential of Black and Ethnic youths. Activities include research and publishing reports; media work; conferences, seminars, workshops, and training programmes for policy makers, service providers, parents, faith and community leaders, young people; communities.
- Advocacy and policy development: working closely with policy makers to shape the development of policy and regulatory action to promote the well-being and protection of children.
- Community and international development: in partnership with others to put in place programmers and projects to help relieve some of the suffering and hardship that Black and Ethnic children experience.
- Family Support: Working to support children, young people and families in crisis, at the point of breakdown through effective early intervention services.
AFRUCA AND THE SIX PRINCIPLES OF SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN
Protection: The best interests of the child is paramount. Our charity seeks to ensure children are safe from abuse, harm and exploitation and parents can provide a safe environment for their children.
Partnerships: AFRUCA works nationwide with statutory agencies, other charities, local authorities, law enforcement agencies, legal practitioners, communities, faith organisations and families in the safeguarding and protection of children.
Prevention and Early Intervention: Our work focuses on assessing the cultural and trans-cultural issues involved in child abuse and exploitation cases within and outside the family unit. We provide education programmes and toolkits on various child protection issues in different communities to help improve understanding of how to protect children from abuse, exploitation and harm.
Empowerment: AFRUCA works in a non-judgemental, non-oppressive manner to support families, communities to learn new skills, which would lead to better protection for children in communities and enable better parenting of children, providing a loving and nurturing environment and preventing abuse and harm.
Accountability: We receive the mandate for our work from the communities we serve. We serve as a bridge between our communities and the statutory services working to address child abuse, exploitation and trafficking.
Proportionality: We have zero tolerance of child abuse, child trafficking and exploitation. However, our intervention is based on the premise that change can occur through effective collaboration and joint-working with affected communities.
Members, Board of Trustees
Vacant - Treasurer
Lola Adeola-Oni - Trustee
Dr Sudhir Sethi - Trustee
Dr Sethi became a Member of the Board of Trustees of AFRUCA in January 2021.
Dr. Sudhir Sethi is a Consultant Paediatrician (Child Specialist) practising for almost 30 years. He completed his MBBS at JIPMER, Pondicherry and his MD Paediatrics at Grant Medical College, JJ Hospital, Mumbai. From 1992 he has been practising as a Paediatrician in the UK and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. He has a Master of Public Health from the University of Nottingham and is a recognised Consultant for the World Health Organisation IMCI programme since 1999. He has been involved in humanitarian aid projects in Bosnia and Nepal and has regularly contributed to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child meetings in Geneva.
Dr Sethi is also a board certified (IBLM- International Board of Lifestyle Medicine) Lifestyle Physician
Head Office London
- Debbie Ariyo OBE – Founder/Chief Executive Officer
- James Titi-Lartey – Head of Finance and Operations
- Samson Amanuel Menghistu – Finance Officer
- Saara Morro – Operations Manager
- Danielle Worthalter – Intern
- Jamila Dyer – Social Worker
- Mike Hailu – Communications and Fundraising Marketing Manager
- Ekanem Robertson – Volunteers Programme Co-ordinator (Part-time)
- Vacant – Senior Social Worker
- Lauretta King-Webb – Social Worker
- Deborah Bakare – Social Worker
- Rama Jallow – Incoming Social Worker (from November 2022)
- Kofi Gyamfi – Family Support and Community Engagement Officer
- Naeema Ahmed – BASNET Network Manager
- Fabiola Bayavuge – Modern Slavery Project Manager
- Hlupekile Lola Zalira – Modern Slavery Project Assistant
- Brian Talabi- County Lines Child Trafficking Service Manager
- Vacant – Youth Worker (Youth Violence Project)
- Remi Abudu (Website Manager)
- Elias Linares Sanchez (IT Management)
AFRUCA Community Champions Initiative
AFRUCA employs a volunteer-led approach to address many of the issues that affect children in the BME community across England. The idea is to create a ripple effect of change through peer-to-peer learning and active citizenship. We have devised a range of Community Champions initiatives focusing on a range of issues, including Modern Slavery, Child Protection and Female Genital Mutilation. Over 200 volunteers are involved in our Community Champions initiative, helping to promote new knowledge within their own community as active citizens.