There's a Better Way to Care
Millions of children worldwide live in residential institutions, commonly referred to as orphanages. Yet an estimated 80% are not actually orphans and have at least one living parent. One of the main reasons for a child to be placed in an orphanage is poverty - families are faced with making impossible choices and send their children to live in these residential institutions as the only way to access basic services such as education and health care.
No parent should have to make that choice for their children – and no child should be needlessly separated from their family.
From over 60+ years of research, one prevailing theme has surfaced many times: growing up in a child institution is harmful to children. Many have attachment issues because they have been deprived of the love of a family. Young adults leaving institutional care are more likely to become victims of trafficking, exploitation, unemployment and homelessness and are at increased risk of suicide.
Throughout the world, many countries are moving away from using residential care institutions. However, well-meaning support for orphanages - through donations, volunteering, tourist trips and faith-based mission work – is weakening these efforts and perpetuating the cycle of children being separated unnecessarily from their families.
ReThink Orphanages works to prevent family separation and the unnecessary institutionalization of children by shifting the way countries in the global north engage with overseas aid and development.