In an interesting interview in which JK Rowling aims to raise greater awareness about “orphanage tourism”, the writer called on students around the world not to volunteer at orphanages, pointing to emerging evidence that despite all good intentions, it drives family separation and child trafficking.
Speaking at the One Young World summit in London, the global forum for young leaders, the Harry Potter author and founder and president of children’s charity Lumos, said orphanages do “irreparable harm” and “perpetuate the abuse” of children and communities.
“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,” she said.
“Institutionalism is one of the worst things you can do to children in the world. It has huge effects on their normal development, it renders children vulnerable to abuse and trafficking, and it massively impacts their life chances. And these dire statistics apply even to what we would see as well-run orphanages … The effect on children is universally poor.”