I came across a remark on a blog today, which really made me think….How the world would be different if everyone could spend one week with an orphan, there wouldn’t be any orphanages.
Orphanage is a term that we no longer use in the UK. We no longer have ‘orphans’, we have ‘children in care’. And yet when we talk of children in other countries that are looked after in institutions, we willingly use the term ‘orphan’; and don’t feel uncomfortable using it. An orphan’ as I understand it, is a child permanently bereaved of or abandoned by his or her parents. In common usage, only a child who has lost both parents is called an orphan. In the US, the legal definition of an orphan is ‘a minor bereft through death, or disappearance of, abandonment or desertion by, or separation or loss from. both parents. UNICEF on the other hand; and other similar organisations, label a child that has lost one parent as an orphan.
When I think of an orphan, (and most of you reading this will know of my first hand knowledge in such things) I think of a child that has nobody to take care of them or love them. The more fortunate of them ending up in the security of an institution or in ‘care’, the less fortunate of them, alone and homeless. My personal experience of orphanages is perhaps clouded, I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I first stepped foot in one. But one thing I do know, is that the majority of them are run and staffed by some of the most caring people on this planet; and I would like to think the same applies to our ‘children’s homes’ in the UK. After all we have 60,000 children or more in this country, that are currently in their care.
When we first started VIAM, we wanted to try and create a little more awareness for these kids, make people aware that there are quite a few children in this world, that are down on life. To try and encourage others to spare a thought; and let these children know that they do have value and they are loved. Three years later, we are still working towards that same goal.