Explaining why you should support families, not orphanages, Friends-International put out a short-but-powerful illustrated ChildSafe video.
They reiterated the same message Lumos Int., Children in Families (CIF), and several other organizations have found through research: most children in orphanages have families; they just live in poverty.
Many issues stem from placing children into institutional care. The act of taking a child away from their parents and siblings in itself can be extremely traumatic. Children are then exposed to many others who also suffer trauma and abuse.
Due to a lack of regulation and government checks within many institutions, children can become victims of abuse and exploitation.
The video points out children can feel overwhelmed and lost. Studies have demonstrated that they struggle more with relationships and bonding, even into adulthood. The difficulties compound as they transition into adult life since they lack a support system and the life skills to cope outside of an institution. Many lack direction.
So, often times, your donation to an orphanage actually removes kids from a loving family, rather than supporting the family system. CIF has also found your money goes further when you give to family and community development rather than an orphanage.
Many orphanage staff serve out of good and humanitarian reasons. They see orphaned and abandoned/neglected children and want to give them a home. However, many times institutions do not address the root of why children and families end up in this position. It can become a revolving door with endless supply.
Some orphanages are beginning to realise the importance of moving away from a residential care model. Some are converting their facilities into community centers, returning children to their families where possible, and engaging with alternative care models when needed. In partnership with other NGOs in the sector, CIF has recently launched a program specifically to work with orphanages like this, supporting them to find better solutions to the children they care about.
We find Friend’s video powerful and to the point. Consider following more of their ChildSafe advice. Be a wise donor.
Learn more about our Outreach Program here.