PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, June 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --
PORT AU PRINCE, HAITI today plays host to a ground-breaking gathering of policy makers, major donors and international NGOs working to transform the lives of tens of thousands of Haiti's children living away from families in orphanages and institutions.
Today, J.K. Rowling's international NGO Lumos, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour (MAST) of Haiti, l'Institut du Bien-Être Social et de Recherches (IBESR) and the US Government Agency for International Development are co-organising a conference focusing on ending the institutionalisation of children in Haiti.
The event marks the official launch of a partnership between Lumos, the Haitian Government and a number of agencies to help an estimated 32,000 children - most of whom are not orphans - who currently live in Haiti's orphanages. After a successful decade working in Central and Eastern Europe to help governments shift funding away from institutions, Lumos has widened its focus to include orphanages around the world, launching a demonstration programme in Haiti with the aim that all children can be living in families there by 2030.
There are approximately 760 orphanages in Haiti, and around 80% of the children in them have at least one living parent - dispelling the myth that Haitian orphanages are full of orphans of the 2010 earthquake. The Haitian Government says around 140 should be closed immediately because of very poor conditions. However, Haiti does not have adequate health, education and social services to support children in their families and communities.
The event will highlight the harm to children caused by institutionalisation - demonstrated in more than eighty years of global research - and explore ways to shift funding in Haiti, from international agencies and trusts and foundations, away from orphanages towards community-based services. Lumos has already started training Haitian professionals.
Georgette Mulheir, CEO of Lumos, which J.K Rowling also launched in the US in 2015, said: "The Haitian Government has demonstrated strong political will to address institutionalisation and a number of international donor agencies working in Haiti, including the EU, the US Government and the World Bank, are prioritising programmes that strengthen communities to ensure children can be raised in their families. Developing a systematic national approach will require a significant investment in the capacity and resources to manage a major process of. The seminar marks a crucial step forwards in achieving this."
SOURCE Lumos Foundation