By Joanna Chojnicka
A friend of mine has recently shared a very personal story on Facebook about her experience volunteering at an orphanage in South Africa, inspired by the article “Volunteering in orphanages deeply misguided, harms children in the process, advocates charge”. According to the article, many children living in orphanages in Africa have at least one living parent; they are often given up due to extreme poverty, in the hope that the orphan homes would take better care of them. This means that the financial incentives and attention flowing in with international volunteering programs may actually be increasing the number of children staying in orphanages. Help should focus instead on the communities, empowering them to take care of children at their homes, so that they do not need to be brought up by strangers, in institutions.