Meet Lovana*. Lovana was relinquished to an orphanage when she was just a little girl. This was not because her parents didn’t love her, but simply because they could not afford to care for her. Unfortunately, this story is not uncommon. It is estimated that 80% of kids in orphanages in Haiti (and many other developing nations) actually have living parents. The financial pressures combined with lack of opportunity and little resources, create a cycle of poverty that can feel impossible to break. This poverty cycle creates the pressure that leads families to place their children in orphanages.
The emotional and psychological effects of children living in orphanages can be detrimental. Being removed from a parent and placed into an institution, restructures the child’s brain in ways that are many times irreversible. Even the best orphanages could never replace the natural benefits a child receives from being raised inside a family unit. In developing countries many orphanages lack access to education, sanitation, and even daily food. The child grows up never learning healthy emotional attachment which leads to a life of developmental delays, mental health difficulties, involvement in criminal behavior and high suicide rates. At age 18 the child must leave the orphanage and now they are a poor, and vulnerable adult. This makes them targets for sex trafficking, gangs, and crime. They are powerless in society and lack the resources needed to help them get out of this cycle. When they have a child of their own, the outside pressures may become more than they can bare and they place their children in orphanages. This is what is known as the “orphan cycle”.
But, there is hope. There is a movement happening throughout the developing world. It is becoming no longer about creating orphanages, but rather, preventing children from ever becoming orphans in the first place. One of the most effective and empowering approaches is job creation. The primary reason for families relinquishing their children to orphanages is the lack of financial resources. When the root of this issue is addressed, incredible and sustainable change can happen, and this is exactly what Allmade is doing. They are committed to creating jobs in organic farms in South Carolina, partnering with organizations in Kansas City, and employing more than 50 hard working people in Haiti. These jobs open up opportunity for people to become participants in their own lives, allowing them to take control and break the cycle of poverty. This empowerment through employment creates sustainable income for moms and dads to care for their kids and make true generational change.
So where do you fit in? It’s simple=purchase with purpose. You don’t have to get a passport and travel across the world to change a life like Lovana’s. In fact, some may argue that staying exactly where you are can be the best way to help. Integrating ethically made goods into your life is now made easy. When you choose companies like Allmade and GoEx, you can rest assured that you have made the right choice. You see, you are not just wearing a shirt or buying a coffee mug, you are becoming part of a movement. You are helping employ men and women all over who are determined to rise up and break the cycle of poverty. You are being the change you wish to see. Thank you for being a vital part of this movement.
*Name changed to respect privacy of individual