Orphanages should be consigned to "cruel, fictional world" - JK Rowling

by Thomson Reuters Foundation | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Wednesday, 26 November 2014 18:41 GMT

Children's charity says over 80 percent of the children living in orphanages could be re-united with their families given the right financial support

By Katie Nguyen

LONDON, Nov 26 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - British author JK Rowling urged government officials around the world to put an end to institutions and orphanages that harm children, saying children should be given the support they need to stay with their families in their own communities.

According to Lumos, a children's charity founded by the author of the Harry Potter series, more than 80 percent of the eight million children living in orphanages could be re-united with their families given the right financial support.

"I recently committed to becoming President of Lumos for Life," Rowling said in a statement.

"It is my dream that by the time my life ends, the very concept of taking a child away from its family and locking it away will seem to belong to a cruel, fictional world."

In a report on aid from governments, Lumos found that in disasters and conflicts, funds are often spent on orphanages as the "simplest" option for children separated from their family.

But once admitted, children tend to remain in institutions for long periods, it said.

"There is now extensive scientific proof of the harm that living in an institution can cause a child," said Georgette Mulheir, chief executive officer of Lumos. "This is a critical time for ending the institutionalisation of children."

Rowling's statement was released as she helped launch Lumos' online social media campaign, #LetstalkLumos, to raise awareness about children living in orphanages and institutions. (Reporting by Katie Nguyen; Editing by Tim Pearce)

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