Home #7 – Inside these walls

Written by on January 9, 2016 in Home, a Cambodian story (series) with 0 Comments


Many people point out that orphanages provide services that help economically poor children improve their lives. But most children in orphanages aren’t orphans; many are sent to orphanages by their own families in order to access the resources and services.  Question: Why do they have to leave their homes and families to get help? Why can’t orphanages be turned inside out and use their resources to restore and empower families and communities? Do they have control issues? Savior complexes? Or is it just that raising money for an orphanage is much easier than raising money that directly serves poor families? (Obviously, there is not one answer. Many orphanage directors are doing the best they can with sincere intentions, but we really need to ask these hard questions anyway.) Orphanages, even those that are well run by decent people, are “creating” orphans by separating children from their families. At the same time, other needy children whose families and relatives refuse to send them away go lacking. For this reasons, organizations with great expertise and experience working with vulnerable children are calling for a transition toward new models, such as community-based family support centers, that provide needed services for vulnerable while keeping families and relatives together. Such centers can help many more children (and families) at a lower cost than the orphanage model.

Andy Gray

About the Author

About the Author: Andy Gray hosts and writes for Uniting for Children. He lives in Cambodia with his family where he works with Alongsiders International. He wrote Home, a Cambodian story and created the video “Why Not a Family?.