This article delves into the phenomenon of orphanage tourism and how it is tearing families apart.
Deinstitutionalisation of alternative care systems is a major challenge in many countries of Africa and Asia in particular, where care provision is essentially left in the hands of non-State actors and overwhelmingly takes the form of large residential facilities. Under those conditions, private providers have a virtual monopoly and are thus in a strong position to resist change. The bulk of the funding for these so-called ‘orphanages’ – where the great majority of children are not in fact orphans – usually comes from well-meaning charitable sources overseas. In recent years, ‘orphanage tourism’ has been developed as one highly profitable means of securing support. This article looks at how this phenomenon serves to tear families apart in order to ‘create orphans’, and argues that convincing foreign contributors to withdraw their support will be key to stopping the ‘orphanage industry’ from flourishing.
Nigel Cantwell, International Consultant on child protection policies,
and Emmanuelle Werner Gillioz, Director of Friends-International