J.K. Rowling today helped launch #HelpingNotHelping – a new campaign led by her children’s charity, Lumos, to challenge attitudes towards orphanage tourism and volunteering.
Speaking in London at One Young World, the global forum for young leaders, J.K. Rowling, as Founder and President of Lumos, delivered a powerful call to action to end orphanage tourism and volunteering, which can drive family separation and child trafficking – highlighting that orphanages are a harmful and outdated system of ‘care’ for children:
“Despite the best of intentions, the sad truth is that visiting and volunteering in orphanages drives an industry that separates children from their families and puts them at risk of neglect and abuse. We want this campaign to highlight the extent of the harm that orphanages cause and to put an end to orphanage tourism and volunteering for good.
My message to young people today is yes volunteer – but plan carefully and thoughtfully. Your time and energy are precious: use them wisely and they will help change the world. Do not volunteer in orphanages. Instead, look at what drives children into institutions and dedicate your time to projects that tackle poverty or support communities with vital services.”
J.K. Rowling was joined on stage by Alex Christopoulos (Dep CEO Lumos), Ade Adepitan as well as two One Young World Ambassadors and self-advocates Ruth Wackuka Waithera from Kenya and Eluxon Tassy, from Haiti. As care leavers, Ruth and Eluxon shared their experiences of growing up in orphanages and called for change in the way vulnerable children are cared for around the world.