Harry Potter and the Relatives Support Programme
We can announce that we have hit our initial target of £31,520. Thank you to everyone who has helped us to get this far. This has been amazing, and we still have nearly two weeks until Christmas.
We have managed to acquire a further £5,000 in pledges. So we are going to keep matched funding open and increase our target to £40,000. We are always looking for the best for the children!
What does Harry Potter have to do with us?
Harry Potter’s creator, J K Rowling, has funded a charity called Lumos. Lumos dislikes orphanages and says “We work with international donors, governments and communities, helping them redirect funds from orphanages to provide health, education and social services, so children can be raised in loving families”
Among the things Lumos dislikes about orphanages, the following two are prominent:
- “Children are arbitrarily separated from their parents (and often their siblings) and raised by personnel who are paid to care for them, and who usually work shifts.
- The child does not have the opportunity to form a healthy emotional attachment to one or two primary caregivers.”
Malaika Kids always seeks to keep family units together, wherever this is humanly possible. That is the point of our RSP programme, and about 80 children out of the 160 or so currently supported by Malaika Kids receive support in their families (though this may often be solely the grandmother).
We have had examples of poor mothers asking us to take on a child that they are struggling to support. We always refuse, but try to support the mother.
In some cases, however, residential support is the only option. It can be the case that the parents are both dead and there is no-one else. It is also sometimes the case that Welfare decide that the parent or parents are not fit to take care of the child because of evidence of abuse, or of acute mental illness. Welfare then asks us to help; this is the only route for a child to come into our care.
Our children’s village personnel are indeed paid to look after the children. They are called ‘Mamas’. All are professionals trained in early-years and safeguarding. Each look after a maximum of ten children in a family unit that remains constant. The mamas sleep with the children (in a small room between the two dormitories of five beds). They eat in their family units, and they ensure that the children are up, washed and ready for school every day. The healthy emotional attachment urged by Lumos is the core of what we do.
From time to time, you may hear a Lumos representative – on the radio or in the print media—speak out against orphanages around the world as if they were all exploiting children to the detriment of the child. They paint with too broad a brush.
We have many times sought a right of reply. This has never been granted… we don’t have Harry Potter behind us.
With your support, what we do achieve for our children is magic, and we hope to keep doing it for a long time