Orphanage Tourism

 

Orphan: noun
a child whose parents are dead.
"he was left an orphan as a small boy" 
The Haitian government recently released statistics stating there are over 730 orphanages in Haiti. 80% of those orphans have LIVING PARENTS. 

If you search through websites of orphanages in Haiti, you'll find some provide the disclaimer that the children living in their facilities are not actually orphans. One well-funded, large orphanage website even describes parents relinquishing their children to them as the "ultimate act of love." What they are saying here is that when parents come to them as a resource, they ask parents to relinquish the child. So, the parents choose this act of love- so their babies don't die of starvation. Raise your hand if you've ever visited an orphanage on a short term mission trip? 

In Haiti, 80% of those kids have families living in the community. So, we changed the definition of orphan. For our "ministry" conveniences we redefined an orphan "as a child living without parents." and omitted "because their parents are dead."  The children live without parents because we take them to our orphanages. Thus, orphan. 

The worst thing about white privilege is that we write the definitions. 

Raise your hand if your church congregation does/or has supported an orphanage. Raise your hand if your youth group flies overseas to teach poor kids Jesus Loves Me... Martin Luther King said: God never intended for one group of people to live in superflous, inordinate wealth while others live in abject, deadening poverty"

Consider the implications of your mission trip while 80% of parents live in poverty on the streets. As an organization, Haiti Mama asks you to support our efforts consciously, as we work consciously. If your congregation has the means to raise money for short term mission trips, please consider the impact of those donations to an organization that is working to keep children with their families, and families in their communities. 

Understand the impact of your support to the institutionalization of children. Support families. Because 80% of "orphans" have them.

 

 

Tausha Pearson