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Projects Abroad’s Position Statement on Orphanage Volunteer Work

A future without orphanages

  • Projects Abroad has committed to a future without orphanages. From January 2018, we will no longer be placing volunteers within orphanages and other residential childcare institutions anywhere in the world.
  • We have always believed that institutional care should be the last resort for any child.
  • Where children have been placed in residential care, volunteers can and have improved their lives. But improving orphanages is not the solution.
  • By tracking and analyzing the work of our volunteers, it has become clear that they have the most impact through community-based care, supporting families and communities to help raise the children themselves.
  • We envision a future where community-based care for children becomes the norm, where children can be raised by their families and communities, and not placed in institutions.
  • Volunteers have an important role to play in making sure that community-based care succeeds, through supporting the development and empowerment of entire communities.

Next steps

  • Project Abroad is working with expert support from ReThink Orphanages Network and others to make sure that we withdraw from residential childcare slowly and carefully, making sure to cause no distress to the children and no harm to the institutions that care for them.
  • Projects Abroad is expanding its community-based childcare program, building on successes in countries like Cambodia, to the countries most affected by this change. This is a long-term commitment, drawing on the wide range of skills and expertise offered by Projects Abroad volunteers and staff.

Get involved

You can help us achieve a future without orphanages by:

  • Educating others: Many people want to help vulnerable children in developing countries. Volunteering in orphanages often seems like the obvious way to help. Tell your friends, family, acquaintances and anyone else thinking of volunteering in an orphanage that there are other ways to help, especially through supporting community-based care projects. Visit ReThink Orphanages Network for more information.
  • Volunteering: If you want to help directly, look for opportunities to volunteer on a project supporting community-based care. Projects Abroad runs a wide range of projects, and there are many ways to get involved. No matter your experience, qualifications or background, you can help.

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