August 10th, 2013 — Washington, DC — The Washington Post on Saturday published an Op-Ed written by Disability Rights International’s (DRI) President Laurie Ahern calling for a paradigm shift in how the world acts to protect vulnerable children. Read the Op-Ed here.
Aid agencies, churches and governments spend hundreds of millions of dollars to build or renovate orphanages for children around the world, despite overwhelming evidence that orphanages are dangerous for children. In DRI’s work in dozens of countries over the past two decades, DRI has documented the impact of segregation in institutions, including cruelty and neglect. DRI has documented babies and children tied to cribs for years on end, and children with disabilities who are refused medical care and left to die.
Children and babies in orphanages are vulnerable to sex trafficking, organ harvesting and illegal adoptions. Even in clean and well-staffed orphanages, children suffer lifelong psychological damage.
Up to 95% of children in orphanages around the world have living parents. Poverty, disability and social exclusion are what push most children into orphanages.
“It is a tragedy on a massive scale, and it demands a response,” writes Ahern in the Post, “Rather than throwing money at orphanages, groups can and should do the more-complicated work of helping to find ways to keep children with their families.”
Through the Worldwide Campaign to End the Institutionalization of Children, DRI is working to establish a worldwide consensus that institutionalization of children can and should be brought to an end.
Please watch and share DRI’s PSA videos, and consider making a donation to support DRI’s advocacy to protect children suffering today and to stop the next generation of children from ever being locked away and forgotten.
Read Ahern’s Op-Ed in the Post here.