Comhlámh > Voluteering in Orphanages Pledge

Volunteering in Orphanages Pledge

Right now over 8,000,000 children are living in orphanages around the world.

With the best of intentions, volunteers from Ireland are sustaining orphanages that research clearly shows can lower children IQ’s, stunt their growth and increase child abuse. Globally most volunteers in orphanages are unskilled and untrained.

You might ask what skill or experience is needed to show comfort to a child, and to kick football or help with drawing. From the perspective of that single volunteer experience, looked at from the perspective of personal goodwill, surely these good intentions can only have a good impact?

If you are thinking of international volunteering, don’t just hope you are doing good. Be part of a growing global movement changing how children are cared for. Volunteering in orphanages can seem a positive choice from the perspective of a single volunteer experience. One rooted in good intentions. However, good intentions alone don’t tell the full story.

Over 80% of children living in orphanages worldwide have at least one living parent.

When looked at from other perspectives – most importantly the perspective of children themselves – the nature of what is wrong with volunteering in orphanages and the scale of the issue becomes much more apparent.

The evidence is clear about the damage surrounding orphanage care, regardless of any good intention.

Dr Lucy Michael sets out why in less than one minute in the video below.

Children who have grown up in orphanages often exhibit:

• significant cognitive and developmental delays
• under-developed brains when compared to those placed with foster families
• hearing and vision problems
• motor skill delays
• attachment disorders

They may be extremely vulnerable, not least because many experience ongoing trauma because of separation from their families.

International volunteering in orphanages has become so popular that it is creating a demand, leading to the unnecessary separation of children from their families and communities.

Children in orphanages are at increased risk of abuse and exploitation by normalising access to vulnerable children. Predators looking to access children often specifically target orphanages.

The need to change how volunteers act becomes much more vital one we understand this. That is why we are asking people thinking about volunteering overseas to take and to share our Volunteering in Orphanages pledge.

Count me in

I want to be part of a growing global movement changing how children are cared for

Share the call in your networks

Listen to our podcast on “What’s the problem with people volunteering overseas in an orphanage?”

Take our pledge to not volunteer at an orphanage overseas.

Further Reading and Resources

Love You Give campaign

Helping Not Helping

“We Aren’t Just Vehicles for your Guilt and Privilege”: A View from Nepal (Part One)

“We Aren’t Just Vehicles for your Guilt and Privilege”: A View From Nepal (Part Two)

The Orphanage Voluntourism Campaign: Is the End-Game in Sight?

We Are Lumos

Invisible Children, Visible Harms – The Scale And Effects Of Child Institutionalisation

Irish Nurse and Midwives Organisation:
Transforming care: Stopping the demand for orphanages

AUDIO : Tara Winkler and Sinet Chan give opening statements to Australia’s Modern Slavery Inquiry

Child’s i Foundation on Time for Global Action