J.K. Rowling’s Charity, Lumos, Explodes Myth on Orphans Still “Behind the Wall” in New Video
It has been 25 years since the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, but when the dust settled there was a haunting reality for infants and children in Central and Eastern Europe: orphanages that were filled with what the world thought were orphans but were actually children separated from their families due to poverty, disability, and even discrimination.
J.K. Rowling’s charity, Lumos, has been at the head of attempting to reunite these children with their proper families and providing proper care for those still left behind. Malnutrition and death are a high risk for young children and children with disabilities living in institutions, who need extra time and support to eat. For this reason, malnutrition occurs even when there is plenty of food. In one institution for children with disabilities, Lumos found that of the children that had left, 78% had in fact died. Those who survived to adulthood were moved to another institution. Other consequences of institutionalized care for children include poor self-confidence, lack of empathy, aggression, tendency to self-harm, and delayed language development.
Today, in the European region, up to one million children live in institutions, denied their rights to a family life, locked away from their communities. A further seven million children are estimated to live in institutions – also known as orphanages – around the world. A new video by Lumos, “Behind the Walls,” which reminds us of the desolation of life in institutions and orphanages, can be viewed below. In the video, J.K. Rowling states,
This is a massive global problem – eight million children trapped in institutions around the globe. But it’s a problem we can solve. I think all of us want to think that we’ve helped give the next generation the best possible start in life.
Lumos CEO Georgette Mulheir stated,
Children growing up in institutions demonstrate delays in all areas of development. They struggle to form healthy attachments to their over-stretched, shift-working carers. In poor-standard institutions children may even fail to sit, stand, walk and talk by the age of four. The resulting lack of emotional and physical contact, regular stimulation and interaction leads to significant impairment of brain development among infants raised in institutions. Those who remain longer than six months recover only partially and demonstrate continued developmental and emotional difficulties throughout their childhood and adolescence.
Lumos is an international non-governmental organisation, set up by the author J.K. Rowling, which works to end the institutionalization of children around the world. It helps countries to transform education, health and social care systems so children can be moved from institutions and supported in the families and the community.
- To find out more about Lumos, visit www.wearelumos.org
- Follow Lumos on Twitter: www.twitter.com/lumos
- Join Lumos on Facebook: www.facebook.com/lumos.at.work