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Home #8 – Three months later

Written by on January 10, 2016 in Home, a Cambodian story (series) with 0 Comments


When a child is separated from his or her family and placed in an orphanage, important bonds are damaged or broken. The longer the child remains in the orphanage, the harder it is to return home. He or she becomes more and more like an orphan. In this way, orphanages “make orphans.” Even the best orphanages run by wonderful people can do this. Sometimes the best orphanages are the worst in this regard, because the children feel so comfortable at the orphanages that they no longer want to go home. The worst orphanages actively recruit children from poor families by promising education and other benefits. In either case, eventually the children grow up and leave their orphanages. At that point, they are forced to rejoin society and re-adapt to the culture and lifestyle. They may desperately need the support of family, but those bonds have been weakened if not broken. They’re vulnerability was not solved, but it was simply postponed. At the end of the day, both the good and the bad orphanages are funded by well-meaning foreign donors who really don’t understand all the implications and options. There is a tragedy unfolding that has been created by sincere efforts to help.

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?.