One week ago a devastating fire in an orphanage in Haiti took the lives of 15 children. What’s even more devastating is this orphanage had lost its accreditation and was operating without a valid license in Haiti due to overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, suspected cases of sexual abuse, and not having enough adequately trained staff. We are grieving with everyone affected by this tragedy and want to shed light on this issue.

In recent years Haiti has been working hard to crack down on corrupt orphanages and this most recent incident highlights the importance of this movement. We are thankful for organizations like LUMOS who are empowering Haiti’s “Institute of Social Welfare and Research” to move away from a system of neglectful orphanages into a system of family placement or foster care.

A large percentage of children who are placed into orphanages in Haiti are not actually orphans. World Wide Village strongly believes in helping build up families so that children do not become poverty orphans. Parents often tragically believe that orphanages funded by foreign missions can offer more for their own children than they are able to provide at home. Sadly, operating an orphanage in Haiti has become a money-making business, leading to corruption and horrible living conditions for many children in these situations.

Erika Childs Charles, who has extensive experience counseling children in Haiti, gave great insight to help point us in the right direction for how to best help children in Haiti:

“So what can we do to help kids in poverty? First, we can show the world that we think family is more valuable than money. A mom struggling to put breakfast on the table is not an indicator that she doesn’t love her child or a reason to break this family apart. Buying a mattress for a bedroom or rice for a cupboard is not a replacement for a mother. Let’s start supporting the moms, and the dads, and the brothers, sisters, aunties, and cousins.

There’s so much you can do to help! Support education. Sponsor a school, a teacher, or a family so they can send their kids to school. Support microfinance programs, fair-trade initiatives, infrastructure and business investments so families can make living wages and communities can strengthen their own economies. Support health programs. Donate to hospitals and clinics, public health campaigns, or water and sanitation programs. Support counselors and social workers who work to heal the invisible wounds of trauma and are front-line workers making sure that children are safe and sound in their homes, and helping find resources for families and kids if they are not. Support family.” Read more thoughts from Erika Childs Charles HERE.

Do you want to help? Give today to support a family through sponsorship or through small business start-ups.