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Why Not Family?

By Jesse Blaine Cambodia

World Orphans is excited to share with you the release of a new video ‘Why Not a Family?’ presented by Uniting For Children. Uniting For Children is a movement whose purpose is to “expand the conversation about the best ways to care for orphaned and vulnerable children.”

video trailer

The full version of the video can be viewed here: http://unitingforchildren.org/video/

The continuing prevalence of institutional care for children around the world, especially among the poor, is a great challenge for our generation [1]. Despite a reduction in the number of orphans in Cambodia, the number of orphanages increased by an estimated 65% between 2005-2008 [2].   Let me repeat that in question form....how does less orphans = more orphanages?

The increase has continued since then. Orphanages are predominantly supported by foreign donors and to exist they need to keep bringing in children. Three out of four children living in orphanages in Cambodia are not orphans, they still have at least one living parent [3]. Many children in institutional environments experience developmental delay and irreversible psychological damage due to a lack of consistent caregiver input, inadequate stimulation, lack of rehabilitation and poor nutrition. Institutionalization isolates children from their families and communities and places them at an increased risk of neglect, social isolation and abuse [4]. Orphanages and shelters are a poor long-term solution and should only be a temporary and last resort.

The good news is that there is a better way and it works.

Family-based care involves keeping children with their own relatives (kinship care) or in loving substitute families (foster care). At World Orphans, we are excited to walk alongside churches as they provide home based and family based care for children.

[1] Uniting For Children 2013 www.unitingforchildren.org [2] A Study of Attitudes Toward Residential Care in Cambodia, 2011 [3] Alternative Care Report, Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation, 2008 [4] WHO, 2012 Early Childhood Development and Disability: A discussion paper

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Identity Crisis

By Jesse Blaine | Project Director - Cambodia 

Whether it’s a mixed up genius from south Boston, a green ogre with a Scottish accent (that’ll do donkey, that’ll do), or a girl who wants to become a vampire, we’re all drawn to stories about finding ourselves. Our identity, after all, is at the center of who we are. It’s how we define ourselves, and it has a great influence over how we live our lives. We end up living out our identities. After all, an ogre makes decisions like an ogre, and vampire thinks like a vampire.

That’s why there’s so much emphasis in the Bible about our identities. You might even say that the story of the Bible is about one big catastrophic identity crisis. We have exchanged our true identity for a counterfeit one. Instead of living in perfect relationship, we started breaking relationships. Instead of stewarding creation, we started exploiting it. Instead of living in perfect communion with God, we have become His enemies. The good news is that a big part of what Jesus came to do was to give us identity 2.0—children of God, a royal priesthood, ambassadors for God’s kingdom!

A huge part of our task at World Orphans is working with children whose identities have been really damaged. Not only do they have to deal with the same identity crisis we are all working through, but they have the added baggage of living with labels like “worthless” or “poor” or “orphan.” Imagine then, the impact it has when one of these precious children comes to understand that they are made in the image of God. Not only that, but that God designed them to be a special reflection of His light and glory in a dark and messy world. It’s what gets me up in the morning, how about you?

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