We prevent children from becoming orphans by keeping families together.
Two years ago we were building a village for orphans. For six years we had been focused on this vision. We had completed the first two homes. We were ready to hire the foster mothers. We were close to opening our doors.
Prior to this, we had visited many projects in many different places. We felt strongly that we were paying attention to an essential need. Orphans needed homes and we were responding.
Suddenly we were approached by local Guatemalan leaders asking us to help families in dire need. We met Luisa. Luisa had six children. Two of her children had been taken from her and put in an orphanage because she didn’t have the resources to care for them.
We offered Luisa the first spot in the Village. She turned us down.
That was our turning point. It suddenly made sense. We saw how bad it could be for women and for their children We studied the statistics. At least 80% of the world’s orphans still have a living parent. Parents in desperate situations often leave their children at orphanages in hopes that they may have a better life. Children are taken from their mothers when the women can’t provide for their children. And then they are called orphans. And they move into orphanages.
I recently discovered the work of JK Rowling in her Foundation called Lumos. This video, so eloquently, says it all.
It’s encouraging to see other people getting this too.
The stories and the statistics about children who have grown up in institutions are heartbreaking.
A child does not need an institution, she/he needs a family.
There is a movement to have a world without orphans and we are on board. By focusing on keeping families together we would resolve many other problems.
Children that have grown up in institutions are greatest targets for human trafficking and gangs. Children that don’t have healthy attachment, become society’s most difficult citizens. Mental illness, suicide and prostitution are common.
Our decision to bring in families run by single widowed or abandoned women makes so much sense to us now.
I’d love to know your thoughts on this.
p.s. The above was extracted from the presentation I gave at our Grand Fiesta on October 29th.