Families desire to stay together, but poverty causes them to feel desperate. Parents and community members may think that an orphanage is beneficial to a child because it meets some of his or her basic needs.

Children in Orphanage in Myanmar

Why Children Are in Orphanages

cap-icon-smallLack of Access to Basic Services

When families are not able to afford or access education, medical care or food for their children, orphanages can appear as viable solutions.

cap-icon-smallEmergency Situations

Children are separated or sent away for their safety during natural disasters or localized violence without proper plans for being reunited.

storm-icon-smallBroken Families

Divorce, separation, abandonment or death of a parent can weaken a family’s ability to provide and care for their children. Drug and alcohol addictions often cause children to be abused or neglected.


Those with disabilities, ethnic minorities and others who are discriminated against are disproportionately represented in orphanages.

Each of these factors, when coupled with poverty, increases the risk of a child being placed in an orphanage. Many of these reasons are not legitimate enough to warrant the trauma that is inflicted upon a child when he is removed from his or her family. However, orphanages are often the first response without considering any other alternatives.

Furthermore, orphanages are not good alternatives to a family. In orphanages, children face cognitive, social and emotional development issues as they aren’t supported, loved or protected, have a limited sense of belonging, and they miss out on learning the life skills that are integral to growing up within a family.

Our Response

We believe children belong in families. Children thrive best in a safe, nurturing families where they can have all their needs met. Removal from their family should be a last resort.

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We raise awareness of the issues affecting at-risk communities. We work to educate families and community leaders about the harm that institutional care has on children, the risks of their children being trafficked, and about the alternatives to sending children to orphanages.

Strengthening families and addressing children’s basic needs while enabling them to remain within family care is critical and prevents unnecessary separation. We work to strengthen at-risk families and communities to be self-sufficient through livelihood support, food and agricultural support, and by providing access to education and health care, daycare, parent education and support groups, and spiritual support. Family-strengthening has been shown to be more cost-effective than orphanages. When parents and relatives are presented with the option of help to avoid placing their children in an orphanage, most would unequivocally choose to keep their children at home.

Picture of family in Myanmar

Invest any amount to help place children back in families where they belong!


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