As we gear up to celebrate the 4th of July in America and are in full swing of our summer vacation, my heart is burdened for the many children around the world whose lives look very different from many of ours.
I am particularly raw when I think about the children I have met and worked with who live in institutions around the world. Children are not designed to be raised within orphanage walls. Sure, many orphanages do a very good job of standing in the gap for children who have had to be placed in their care. They make efforts to provide recreation, fun, education, and affection to the children. But large caregiver-to-child ratios, lack of training in the trauma the children have experienced, and the sheer nature of institutionalization leaves many children struggling to withstand the experiences within their living environment.
And many other institutions, whether due to cultural differences, worker apathy, lack of resources, or lack of education - leave children even more vulnerable.
As I look through these images shared by a host-adoptive mom and volunteer with Project 143, it stirs great emotion within my heart and into my gut. I'm also reminded of the things I've heard children and social workers say over the years of visiting.
"He's been in the institution his whole life (13 years). No one from the family has ever come to visit."
“I’m a governmental problem. I’ve been thrown away like a dog.”
The hopelessness is sometimes palpable.
"I will just run away."
“No one here cares about me. I just want a family to call my own. One that will be kind to their children and love me no matter what.”
With no one to personally mentor and care for each child individually, the children end up in survival mode for much of their time. They can become hopeless, reckless, apathetic about their futures, and very hardened to the world.
So we reach out where we can and try to provide HOPE! Whether through hosting, mission trips, adoption, or other avenues of advocacy for these children, there are ways we can all help! (20 Ways You Can Help Orphan & Vulnerable Children)
Currently, Project 143 is doing a drive to support 600 children living in orphanages with an extended time of quarantine due to COVID-19 worldwide. Contact Traci Mai for more information on ways you can be get involved: firstname.lastname@example.org.