ReThink Orphanages


ReThink Orphanages is a global, cross-sector coalition working to prevent family separation and unnecessary child institutionalization by shifting the way countries in the global north engage with overseas aid and development. 80% of children in orphanages aren’t orphans and often have family who could care for them. Poverty, access to education and disability are some of the main reasons why millions of children are living in orphanages. Families often have no other means of addressing these issues and send their children to orphanages to access support. This support, however, comes at a high price - the cost of growing up in a family. Decades of research show that growing up, separated from family, in a residential care institution, such as an orphanage, is harmful to a child's development and well-being. This has led to a global effort to shift away from institutional models of care towards family-based care. But well-meaning support for orphanages - through donations, volunteering, tourist trips and faith-based mission work – is weakening this effort and perpetuating the cycle of family separation and institutionalisation.

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Children's Rights