The video I’ve been working on for the past year is online. The title is “Why Not A Family?” and the purpose is to raise awareness of better alternatives for the care of orphaned and vulnerable children. You can watch it here. The video challenges the idea that orphanages are really the best long term option for the most vulnerable children, and it suggests a better way.
What would motivate someone to make a video questioning orphanages? Please watch it and see for yourself.
More and more you the conversation about orphanages is turning around the point that 80 percent of children in residential care worldwide have one or more living parents, and the vast majority have other living relatives who could potentially care for them. The main reason that parents and relatives give for putting their children in orphanages is poverty. The problem is that putting a child in an orphanage is often easier than getting practical support from either the government or any other source to keep the family together. It’s time to make a concerted effort to change that.
Would you like to learn more? Go to www.unitingforchildren.org and spend some time reading the articles by experienced …
The week before he joined an “art party” at the children’s center where he lives. A teacher has been working with kids at the center since mid-2007, and some of the older students are very good. They helped the younger kids during the art party, taking up brushes occasionally to teach by example. The results were amazing, and moving if you know the stories behind them.
I made a short video documenting the event (coming soon).
I like the image of creating a painting, and this one has a subscript for me. It’s a boy at an orphanage painting his home – not an imaginary home, but the home where his mother lives. I don’t know his particular story, because he’s new to the center, but it’s a fact that the vast majority of children and youth in orphanages have homes and relatives: grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, brothers and sisters. Most still have one living parent, and quite a few have two. The number one reason they are in orphanages is poverty. There are many orphanages but few family support services to restore families and keep them together.
It’s not surprising that a child in an orphanage would paint his …
Change that comes quickly, or easily, doesn’t last. Authentic change takes time and a process, but it runs deep and follows through.
Seth Godin writes about three ways to motivate people to achieve: by pushing them relentlessly, by creating competition, and by giving them freedom and opportunity. The first two produce results, but only temporarily. As soon as you stop pushing, or when the competition ends, the motivation fades. The advantages of push and competition are speed and control; the disadvantages are felt down the road. Athletes who won championships don’t know how to motivate themselves apart from competition. I was a pretty good runner in my day, but I was never able to run consistently without a coach pushing me, and I ran for the thrill of racing and beating people. I’d love to be running today, but I still haven’t found it within me.
How will I work for change in society, or a better world? Whatever I want to change, it means people must change. But how?
Here in Cambodia, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of non-government organizations are working for change. There are hundreds of orphanages “saving”children, and many say they intend to raise up a new generation …
I’m spending Christmas this year with my family at an orphanage in Cambodia. It’s a decent place run with genuine love on a very low budget (much lower than the linked article). They care for kids living with HIV, who are rejected by most orphanages. And they could use some money, if you’re looking to give, because they run on a shoestring.
That being said; I hope for a future without orphanages. I’d like to see orphaned kids being raised by their extended families, because the majority of “orphans” in the world have relatives who could take them in. Heck, a lot of them have at least one parent alive (the definition of “orphan” in Cambodia is that at least one parent has died). Often the relatives are very poor, so they think an orphanage would be better for the child, but a small subsidy would help them accept the responsibility.
Here’s an excellent article from the New York Times that makes a case for supporting families rather than starting more and more orphanages.