HEADLINE NEWS: We are so pleased that for the first time the UK government has formally recognised that overseas orphanages harm children and has promised to support closures, long-term. This marks a breakthrough moment for the growing global movement to eliminate orphanages.
The UK Secretary of State for International Development, Penny Mordaunt, made this announcement during the first Global Disability Summit in London last month. “The UK government recognises that institutionalisation harms children’s physical, emotional and psychological development. Children with disabilities are often the first to be placed in institutions, the last to leave institutional care and often end up being forgotten by society”, she said.
“The UK Government will work towards the long-term process of deinstitutionalisation” she stated, adding that, “the UK is supportive of inclusive services for all children and the promotion of family and community-based care. We see the long-term solution to this issue to be tackling systemic problems at a national level so that systems, services and policies are in place to create a protective environment for all children”.
Her statement was followed by another announcement to say that the EU Member States have selected “children without parental care” as the proposed theme for the 2019 resolution on the Rights of the Child!
This watershed moment marks the beginning of a new era for millions of children trapped behind closed doors worldwide, and radio discussions followed on Radio 2 and 4. Our recent TFT visitor and supporter John Johnson Head of Drama at Christ Hospital, coincidentally tuned in and then joined the discussion with Vanessa Feltz, immediately after his return from Sri Lanka!
Major charities working in this field are not active in Sri Lanka, but awareness has been raised, and the world will now begin to understand and want to support the need for change. More than 80 years of global scientific and medical evidence proves the long term damaging effects of developmental delays and brain structure changes which are caused if children are separated from their families, and we continue to see this heartbreaking ordeal of child abandonment first hand.
Finally, a light is being shone, and there is real hope for change.