Who we are


AFRUCA SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN was established in May 2001 as a platform for advocating for the rights and welfare of African children following the deaths of children like Victoria Climbie, Jude Akapa and Damilola Taylor in the UK. It became a registered Charity in July 2002 and a Company Limited by Guarantee in October 2001 with a Board of Directors appointed to run the organization.


AFRUCA is embedded in and has developed out of African communities in the UK as a response to their realization of the problems African children and parents face and the gaps that exist within the child protection system for African children in the country. The main focus of our work is Prevention and Early Intervention.

The 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of The Child and the UK Children Acts of 1989 and 2004 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.

The 1989 United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child forms the basis of our work at AFRUCA. Our mission is to promote the rights and welfare of African children. With a presence in two UK cities (London and Manchester) and projects working with children, young people and families across London and in Manchester, Birmingham, Coventry and other cities, we are undeniably the voice of the African Child in the UK. Our national spread means we have become accessible enough to be regarded as the first point of contact for those interested in the welfare of African children


Our vision is to see a world in which BME Children can live free of cruelty and abuse at the hands of others.


  • Raise the profile of BME children in the UK, and create awareness of their needs in ways that promote a positive climate for change.
  • Ensure that children are aware of the risks of abuse, know their rights, and have skills to protect themselves.
  • •Promote positive parenting among BME parents and others who care for children.
  • •Increase the understanding of service providers and those with leadership roles in relation to BME communities about the risks of abuse to African children, and promote the development of appropriate services, practices, and support to African families.
  • Influence the development of policy and regulatory action in ways that will safeguard BME children.
  • Develop the leadership potential of  BME youth.


Our work to effect positive changes in the lives of BME children and their families in the UK and in Africa is premised on our conviction that there needs to be changes made in three key areas in order to promote the rights and welfare of children

  1. Cultural
  2. Systemic
  3. Structural
The best interests of the child is paramount in all AFRUCA’s work and activities. Our strong stance is that culture and religion can never be a reason to abuse children. Through our work, we do know most child abuse takes place in relation to culture and beliefs which impact negatively on the children in our community. Our work therefore focuses on the need for changes in beliefs and cultural practices which are harmful to help protect children from abuse. AFRUCA stands with the BME community in the protection of African children. We will continue to involve the community in all our work and activities. We cannot effect changes in the lives of children without engaging with the community to help improve the lives of children – simply put: “We cannot shave people’s heads without their consent.” We will build and effect changes through the design, development and implementation of a range of community development programmes and activities that will aim to improve the lives of children.
Prevention of child abuse and early intervention in the safeguarding of children is central to our work and activities. Many agencies across the country, despite their good intentions, do not have the capacity and knowledge to intervene successfully in families. Many agencies do not have the systems in place to enable them meet the specific needs and priorities of BME children and families. Our work across the UK will seek to engage positively with agencies to help build skills and capacity in order to improve services where African children and families are concerned. We will do this through the implementation of a range of training and skills development programmes as well as the provision of advice and support for practitioners and their agencies working with African children and families.
The continued gaps in legislation and national policy in relation to child protection and other child policy areas lead to African children and families being over-represented in many key areas as victims of abuse. AFRUCA will continue to campaign for changes in legislation and for the implementation of sound policies which take account of the needs and priorities of BME children and their families. This will happen at the local, regional, national and international levels.


AFRUCA works in many ways to help promote the rights and welfare of BME children. Our main areas of work are:
  • Awareness raising and sensitization within African communities and among young Africans 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 welfare of children.
  • Information, education, and advisory services to raise the profile of African children in the UK, increase awareness of their needs, improve policies and practices, and develop the leadership potential of young Africans. Activities include research and publishing reports; media work; conferences, seminars, workshops, and training programmers for policy makers, service providers, parents, faith and community leaders, young people; community meetings; advice and consultancy services.
  • Advocacy and policy development working closely with policy makers to shape the development of policy and regulatory action to promote the welfare 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 African children experience
  • Support for Children, Young People and Families We work to support children, young people and African families in crisis or at the point of breakdown through effective early intervention services. Our therapeutic service provides a confidential space to explore thoughts, feelings, beliefs and experiences through one-to-one, psycho-educational groups or group therapy, to those who have been affected by abuse including trafficking and FGM.
As AFRUCA develops, our work is also expanding to include:
  • Working with others internationally to address many of the issues and challenges BME children experience on the ground in Africa.
  • Collaborating and sharing learning with organisations seeking to pro mote the welfare of African children in other countries in Europe.
  • Continuing to expand our spheres of influence within the BME communities in the UK to ensure that our work helps to meet the needs and priorities of children and families in the community. <top>


  • Ms Gani Martins – Chair
  • Dr Tsitsi Chawatama – Vice Chair
  • Mr Conrad Dumbah – Treasurer
  • Ms Georgina Awoonor-Gordon
  • Janet Latinwo (Senior Lawyer)
  • Debbie Ariyo OBE – Founder/Chief Executive Officer
  • James Titi-Lartey – Head of Finance and Operations

Head Office London

  • Samson Amanuel Menghistu – Finance Officer
  • Vacant – BASNET Network Officer
  • Vacant – Social Worker 

Manchester Centre

  • Lauretta King-Webb – Social Worker
  • Deborah Bakare – Social Worker
  • Fabiola Bayavuge – Modern Slavery Co-ordinator
  • Vacant – County Lines Family Support Worker
  • Rekiya Adam – Volunteer


  • 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.


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