What gave birth to the Foundation
The story started on December 10, 1997 when Gabriela Arias Uriburu’s ex-husband – Imad Shaban – abducted their three young children who lived in Guatemala and took them illegally to Jordan.
At that moment, there was no organization or entity that treated these kind of issues so, Gabriela Arias Uriburu, after studying thoroughly laws, treaties, history and philosophical and anthropological foundations looking for the reason of the abduction, she decided to create the “Niños Unidos para el Mundo” Foundation (‘United Children For the World’ or just ‘Foundchild’).
This is how Foundchild became the only NGO in Latin America tasked with parental abduction, and the first in the world to raise an issue on family restitution and re-bonding considering the child as essential person in an interdisciplinary development, which links the child’s legal part with the psychophysical and spiritual one.
Karim, Zahira and Sharif’s dramatic story gave meaning to Foundchild’s fight for thousands of children: “creating a legal-therapeutic system so that no child in the world never ceases having contact with his/her parents, though they live in different countries and they are from different cultures and religions.” The first two years, the work was carried out at the home of Gabriela’s mother with a group of professionals – who worked ‘ad honorem’. In those times, Foundchild received two denunciations a day and assisted to three cases a week.
The next five years, Foundchild grew in every dimension – personal and institutional – which found us committed in such a delicate task as the one deployed being able of creating case-law, documents (networked development for prevention, laws and integral treatment for the whole family) and developing work idiosyncrasy – unpublished and revolutionary – as they transform the social and legal order of the world in order to protect the present multicultural society.
Migrations and emigrations – human phenomenon that is occurring in Latin America – arise crisis in the family causing the loss of coherence of the family unity where the children are totally affected: the integration difficulties to the new environment, the lack of referrals and the breakdown of ties between parents, all of which cause conflict situations that take them to a huge difficulty to establish a family life in the new country of residence. Therefore, this social phenomenon is quicker than the answers at a legal and governmental level. The Interdisciplinary Team that Assists Cases acts from a cognitive background which enables the establishment a synergic turn in the attorneys’ and therapists’ joint work. The auspicious part of the proposal is seen in the result of the treatment with parents and children. In this sense, another item to point out is that the Team does not fall in frustration before the biases of the achievement. The child who arrives to Foundchild is received by professional human group who respects and acknowledges his/her talents as this means respecting and acknowledging his/her right to an autonomous identity.
Analyzing the increase of cases since 1998 to this date, we can conclude that denunciations will continue increasing due to globalization, the country economic situation, the multicultural exchange that nowadays favors the different communication modalities among others. From the private sector, the Foundation does not receive assistance from the companies, as they are devoted to the attention of poverty and starvation of the country. The Foundation, from the years 2000 to 2004 received a subsidy from the Council of Minors and Families giving assistance to 2000 cases registered to that moment; but, when said Council decided not to continue with said subsidy, we had to close our offices and move our work to Gabriela’s Home. Foundchild played a role that the State does not sustain, even today: that is the assistance of the child and his/her family in this kind of family tragedies, apart from the creation of scientific and legal documents essential for coexistence in peace in today’s world. With such a scenario and continuing in our mission for childhood, we had to reconsider our way of action and due to this, the Foundation does not work with specific cases. Nevertheless, parents may contact the Foundation through Internet at www.foundchild.org.ar where they will find guidance and useful addresses to begin a path for their children.
Once the case is received – and when time and obligations allow Gabriela –, she will send a suggestion to the parents about the steps they should take. Moreover, if they need legal and therapeutic advice, the Foundation will recommend the professionals specialized in each field and who work privately, which means that those people contacting them, should pay the corresponding professional fees.
Meanwhile, the Interdisciplinary Team of Cases Assistance is working in the scientific-academic field, developing projects so that the children’s rights are action in them as well as their families: teaching the children how to protect themselves through their potentials and being Mediator between parents and their needs.
We want boys and girls know that there is a Foundation that will have the doors open to listen and help them always and that the THEY ARE FOUNDCHILD.
In a few words, what appears as Foundchild emblem “what is true from the heart, it is possible from action” we make it concrete in the day-by-day work that becomes increasingly difficult.