Can’t we support her to raise the child herself?

Written by on August 20, 2013 in Blog with 2 Comments


Does it surprise you that eighty-percent of children living in orphanages worldwide have at least a living father or a mother? Research shows the majority of children in orphanages are there because of poverty.

It’s relatively easy to open an orphanage and fill it with kids. If you promise clothing, food, and an education, they will come, orphans or not.

It’s harder to restore families. You have to put in time to build relationships with the parents and community leaders. You need a team that includes qualified locals who can help families solve problems themselves, rather than relying on your resources to pay for quick solutions.

It’s much easier to start an orphanage. So why bother to support mothers and restore families instead?


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About the Author

About the Author: Andy Gray is the editor at Uniting for Children. He lives in Cambodia where he works with young adults transitioning from life in an orphanage to living independently. He filmed and produced the video “Why Not a Family?.
  • Christin

    While I agree in part with there being other family members who *could* raise the child, sadly, in many cultures these children are treated less than because they are not immediate family. They are treated more like a slave then a child.

    And more often then not, many extended family members do not want the burden of caring for someone else’s child.

    Having said that, when you have one parent living who is capable (mentally and physically) to care for a child, absolutely we should be supporting them. That’s why there is child sponsorship.

    Sadly, there needs to be people to partner with the director’s of these orphanages in order to get word out that sponsorship is needed.

    Then there is the large chance of the director stealing the money for themselves and the family never sees a dime.

    It’s so much more complicated, unfortunately. Does that mean we shouldn’t try? No. But we should definitely be realistic about our expectations and the corruption that is often involved.

  • Tom Matuschka

    If we are going to “try” in regards to serving orphans, then should we be completely informed regarding the best service methods. How many folks involved in orphan ministry/work can provide data that compares the harm inflicted on the child in an orphanage compared directly with the harm these vulnerable children receive in families. Often, work is started with the assumption that the orphanage is better. Yet, as I challenge this assumption with foreign workers and donors, I am then confronted with their realization that keeping children in families is much more difficult and costly. That in itself becomes a hurdle. But if it is worth doing and these children are that precious, then it is worth being fully informed and doing the work the best way regardless of cost and difficulty.