1000 Flowers for the Planet - #507 Reduce Orphanages
The number of orphanages around the world has increased dramatically over the last 5 years, but it’s not because lots of parents are dying. Most children in orphanages actually have at least one living parent. It is estimated that there are 8 million children worldwide living in orphanages. Many of them are what is known as ‘paper orphans’ – children who have been taken from their parents and given new identities, with forged death certificates created for their parents and no visiting rights for family. They have been taken away from their parents under the guise of offering them an education and better healthcare, sometimes the parents are paid a small fee, sometimes the parents are too poor to care for their child and think they are doing their best by that child. Within the orphanages, children are often not cared for properly, with inadequate facilities, little food and precious little love. In Australia we have learned that orphanages are not the best solution, and we have closed them all down, placing children back into the community where they belong. Orphanages cannot provide the psychological needs of a child like the love and attention that comes from one or two permanent carers. It cannot be replaced by the short visits of voluntourists coming from rich countries to ‘do their bit’ of social service for a couple of weeks, only to abandon these poor children until the next bunch of tourists come through. Read these articles at [http://theconversation.com/the-business-of-orphanages-where-do-orphans-come-from-38485] and [http://theconversation.com/orphanage-trips-by-aussie-schools-are-doing-more-harm-than-good-38035] for well-expressed comment on the situation. Lumos [http://wearelumos.org/] is an organisation instigated by the author, J.K. Rowling, with the aim of closing down all orphanages worldwide by 2050. This is a better solution. Spread the word and help all those children.