- ALL ORPHANAGES HARM CHILDREN.
Orphanages are harmful to children—regardless of the standard of living, or whether or not the orphanage operators are trustworthy and well-intentioned.
More than 60 years of international research has shown that growing up in institutions – like orphanages – can have a lifelong detrimental impact on the physical, emotional and psychological development of children.
Young adults who have grown up in institutions are 10 times more likely to fall into sex work; 40 times more likely to have a criminal record; and 500 times more likely to commit suicide.
2. THE NUMBER OF ORPHANAGES ARE BOOMING.
Despite the harmful impact that orphanages have on children, the number of orphanages across the developing world has skyrocketed in recent years.
In Cambodia, the number of orphanages has increased by more than 75% since 2005; the number of children living in orphanages has more than doubled. This Orphanage Crisis is occurring across the developing world.
3. WELL-MEANING PEOPLE ARE DONATING TO ORPHANAGES, WHICH IS CAUSING CHILDREN TO BE SEPARATED FROM THEIR FAMILIES.
The cause of the Orphanage Crisis in developing countries is NOT due to an increase in the number of orphans or an increase in levels of poverty. In Cambodia, the number of orphans and the poverty rate are in steady decline.
The Orphanage Crisis is caused by us – it’s the increase in donations from well-meaning foreigners – tourists, volunteers and philanthropists – that are causing more orphanages to open and more children to be separated from their families to fill their beds.
Orphanages in developing countries are all foreign-funded, set-up in tourist areas, and the vast majority of children in these orphanages are not orphans – they have living parents and relatives alive who could and should be caring for them.
4. THERE IS A SOLUTION: EMPOWER VULNERABLE FAMILIES AND PREVENT CHILDREN FROM ENDING UP IN ORPHANAGES.
Many well-meaning people believe donating to orphanages is a necessary intervention to help vulnerable children, unaware that there’s a better way.
It’s vitally important that we respond quickly and work to reunite children in orphanages with family. However, the most important measure that needs to be taken to solve the Orphanage Crisis is to address the root cause and prevent children from ending up in orphanages in the first place.
The solution lies within the family and the surrounding community. Placing families and communities back into the driving seat is the only real way that lasting, sustainable and meaningful child protection can happen. By mobilising a community-led response, vulnerable families are empowered to meet the challenges in their lives and raise their children well.