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?
What happens when orphanages have beds to fill and and warped priorities?
I can still see the tears streaming down her face, the hopelessness in her eyes, and the burning sting of defeat that grew with each tear falling onto the toddler she clutched close.
The weary widow stood on the steps of our child development center, aptly named Brave Seedlings of the Andaman Sea by survivors of the 2004 tsunami that devastated the coastal regions of southern Thailand.
“It takes courage to make the right decision to give your child away,” the Christian missionary orphanage director said, confident and calm,assuring the weeping widow her precious son would never know hunger again.
Carrying a clipboard with paperwork and photos of a beautiful cement home, the director came prepared for this young mother to sign her child over. Every three months she could visit her son, and he would have the opportunity to complete high school and possibly attend university.
I arrived while the ink was still wet on the orphanage registration form. As I realized what was happening, my righteous anger turned ugly.
“How dare you show up here asking to meet with vulnerable parents?” I yelled at the orphanage director.… Keep Reading
Most people don’t have a good image of the families of “dump kids” of Phnom Penh. Here is one organization that has set out to prove them wrong.
Say Son lives in the Stung Meanchey area of Phnom Penh and has a child studying at Indochina Starfish Foundation (ISF). She said that living in Phnom Penh is really hard for her as she was used to living in the countryside. There she lived with her family. They grew what they ate and didn’t have so many expenses. Now she has to earn a salary to cover rent, food, education costs, and healthcare and to pay off some of the debt she has from moving to the city.
She spent two years working as a cleaner with a private company in Phnom Penh for $60 a month. She said that her work at this company was extremely hard as she was required to work full time 7 days a week. She was also put under great pressure, and the employer was not particularly nice to work for. When the stress started to affect her health, she left the job.
In November 2012 (after her child had joined ISF’s program) she learned that ISF was partnering with another local organization that provides training and links to dignified jobs for its trainees.… Keep Reading