You are on page 1of 5

A STUDY OF LIFE OF CHILDREN LIVING IN ORPHANAGES

Shoaib Goraya, Rahat Usman, Mubashir Amin, Ahmad Waqas, Hassan Ashraf, Hassan Mirza, Mehran Rafiq * ABSTRACT: The primary need of any child is to be loved and protected; food, shelter, education and other necessities come later. But for orphans getting these things is a big challenge and if not provided, they may get shattered and lost. There are 15 orphanages currently working in Pakistan. We selected three of them namely SOS Childrens Village, Edhi Homes, and Yateem Khana. We visited and surveyed these orphanages and interacted with children living in these orphanages. Our most important findings were lack of proper system, resources, trained staff, education and love & respect for the children living there. These facilities are either absent or limited. SOS Village provides good nurturing and facilities to its children and sets a standard for the others. The other orphanages in Pakistan need drastic improvements. Keywords: Orphans, Orphanages 1. INTRODUCTION: A childs perception of the world is his mother, his family and his house, when fate shatters this ideal world these little souls become frightened, silent, withdrawn, bewildered and alone usually feeling worthless and powerless to change their circumstances. These poor souls in such circumstances need and deserve our attention and compassion. God has created man with innate empathetic emotions. This noble trait led to the inception of orphanages for these destitute souls. Orphans may not merely mean children with dead parents but it includes all those children who have been abandoned and have no one to look for. These are the social orphans whose parents have left them due to their personal issues which may be financial, marital or psychological. Orphanages also accommodate them along with natural orphans and bind them together in a family.

n an ideal world, there would be a man; a woman; love; marriage; a child and a happy complacent life. But ideal is unreal. Life comes at us with all its adversities and pains; capable enough to shatter ones ideal world. A child, an innocent soul with almost no understanding of the real world, at times faces these adversities in their worse form when he loses his parents to the hands of fate. An orphan is a child who has been deprived of parental care and has not been adopted; sometimes taken care of by noble hands and sometimes left upon the mercy of time. Parents are the greatest gift of Lord. One may not be able to recognize their importance until he meets one who is deprived of this great gift.

* Students of 4th semester, B.Sc. Civil Engineering at Department of Civil Engineering, University of Engineering & Technology Lahore.

2.

BASIC NEEDS OF A CHILD:

3.

An innocent wish of any child is to be loved and protected; food, shelter, education and other necessities come later. A normal child gets this easily from his parents, his family but for orphans love and social security is a big challenge and if not provided, they may get fragmented, lost and forgotten which consequently may transform them into rebels with strong discontentment. The feeling of being deprived and subjected to injustice can invoke a rebellious spirit in any one and when these young souls suffer and bear all the pain on their own then the bitter memories of the past keep on taxing their present, affecting their personality adversely. Such people find it hard to fit in society and grow in them; anger and rage against it. Such situations can only be averted if right care and nurturing is provided to these masses at the right time. Therefore orphanages are established with the purpose to cater the needs of these pitiable souls and to put an end to their misery. It is just not a service to a particular community but a service to humanity.

STATISTICS REGARDING ORPHANS IN PAKISTAN:

There are 132 million children in the world who have lost one or both parents ranging from newborns to age 17 (UNICEF) [1]. Major distribution of these is shown in FIG. 1. There are about 15 orphanages running currently in Pakistan. Unfortunately only a few of these have governmental patronage and are run by various religious and non-religious organizations. Some of these are listed in Table 1 [2]
Fig. 1: Distribution of Orphans Across the World
Latin America 7% Others 13% Asia 45% Sub Saharan Africa 35%

Table 1: List of Various Orphanages in Pakistan

Name Roshni Homes SOS Children's Villages Pakistan

Active Since 2002 1977

Edhi Foundation

1951

Comments Orphan care homes providing a family environment and quality education Providing orphans and abandoned children a home, good nurturing and a fair chance in life. a new and permanent home. The children remain in SOS care until they are able to lead independent lives. Largest orphanages network in Pakistan. Edhi Home also called as" Apna Ghar " ( our home), is a home for the mentally ill destitute, for orphans and runaways. Quality education with strong Islamic moral values. Orphanage in Lahore. Provides quality education free of charge for orphans and needy children of Pakistan
2

Dar Al Iman Orphanage and Educational Institute Janat Al Firdous Trust Orphanage Lahore

4.

SURVEYS AND VISITS TO DIFFERENT ORPHANAGES IN LAHORE:

There are five to six orphanages operating in the Lahore city. Most of them are privately run either by the individuals or nonprofit organizations, but one or two are working under the government supervision. The main source of funding for these orphanages is donations and charities by the corporate sectors and individuals. We selected three different orphanages based on their diverse patronship and source of funding. These were Edhi Homes, SOS Childrens Village, and Yateem Khana. Edhi Homes is providing shelter and refuge to the orphans and destitute for the past five decades. It is run by a private welfare organization named as Edhi Foundation in all major cities of Pakistan providing basic necessities to more than 500 children. It depends mainly on the grants and donations from individuals and corporate sector. SOS Childrens Village is the largest childs welfare organization in the world working for the good of orphans and abandoned children under the motto that Every child has the right to good nurturing. Founded by Herman Gmeiner in 1946, it is operating in 12 major cities of Pakistan since 1977. It is accommodating nearly 600 children. It operates under the directives from their international head office in Austria. The system at SOS Village is unique in its kind. The SOS philosophy is based on four principles a mother, brothers and sisters, a house and a village. Each house accommodates about 10-12 children who live together as brothers and sister with a mother and all these houses together make up a village. Their resources mainly depend on Zakat and donations from individuals and corporate sector. Yateem Khna is a hostel for orphan boys having the capacity of 230. It is semi-government organization which is operating mainly under the supervision of

Anjamun-e-Hamayat-e-Islam. It is the oldest orphanage in subcontinent established in 1884. Like others, it depends on grants and donation from government and private sector respectively. 5. FINDINGS AND OBSERVATIONS:

In our visit to the three diverse orphanages, we present the following findings: 5.1 Resources:

Most of the expenses of orphanages are covered by donations and grants. Living in Pakistan with Islam as the majority religion and Zakat as its pillar we are lucky to raise a good sum as charity. But majority of these donations go to the religious schools, mosques and other social works like hospitals and victims of catastrophes etc. We observed that insufficient resources was the most common problem which these orphanages encounter when providing facilities to their children rather, it hampers them from providing all the facilities. This directly affects the lives of children living in there. We feel that there is a lack of awareness among people regarding the significance of this social work i.e. caring for the orphans, or there are very few orphanages with transparent system and well repute. 5.2 Administrative Issues:

There is variety of issues regarding the administration of the system and resources. We found that there was no effective hierarchy in the administrative system of these orphanages (with the exception of SOS), which is essential for the smooth running of an organization where everyone is well aware of his responsibilities and is accountable for them. The management of the resources is not completely transparent and audit reports are very rare.

5.3

Shelter and Safety:

As this is a basic and foremost necessity of a child during his growth, so it should be provided in the best possible manner. In our visits, we found it satisfactory in almost all the orphanages. All the orphanages were equipped with a proper building, furnished rooms, and playgrounds. Overall standard of these facilities was satisfactory and their maintenance was also satisfactory although some lapses were there. 5.4 Love, Care and Respect:

are only found at SOS Village. On campus facility of a dispensary or a doctor is also compulsory in case of an emergency and it is only provided at few orphanages including SOS Village. 5.7 Education:

Considered as the integral part in building the personality of a child, these aspects determine how confident, motivated, honest, tolerant and energetic a child would be as he grows. But unfortunately love, care and respect are largely missing in our orphanages. Barring SOS Village, we found that children are considered as a liability by the staff in the orphanages. They were treated harshly, vulgar language was used, and punishments were given over small issues. These things develop shyness, anger, inferiority complex and sense of injustice among them. 5.5 Food:

The core factor in proper growth of a child is education. Without education, no matter how many facilities you provide to a child, there would be a gap in childs personality, without knowledge he will not be able to explore his true potential and ability. Most of the orphanages provide basic education to the children but their quality of their education is a big question mark. We observed that there was no proper education facility at Edhi homes while the quality of education in school of Yateem Khana was below par and its main emphasis was on religious education. In SOS village there was a better schooling facility in the shape of SOS Herman Gminer School which is providing high quality education to its children along with children from local vicinity. Their mission is to promote mutual self-respect among children from different backgrounds and infuse in them the ideals of equality and fraternity. 6. CONCLUSIONS:

Majority of the orphanages are apt at providing food to their children. But the issue here is with the quality. It is a common practice that people charity cooked food to these orphanages which is prepared in market by the professional cooks using unhygienic spices and oil which is potentially dangerous for the health. There is no quality check on the food in all the orphanages in Pakistan which is of major concern 5.6 Health:

The conclusions of the above study are discussed below: i. There is no proper system for the care and nurturing of a child designed by experts in majority of the orphanages in Pakistan. Orphan children are taken for granted and considered as a burden. Ultimately they are handled carelessly. All orphanages should follow the family system of SOS Village as a model. Resources for the orphanages are insufficient. There is no much awareness regarding the importance of care for the orphans in our society. Scant resources lead to the limitation
4

This includes both physical and mental health of a child. Unfortunately proper medical care is very rare in Pakistani orphanages. Child is only taken to the doctor or hospital when his illness aggravates. Regular visits of doctors, dentists and psychiatrists

ii.

of orphanages in fulfilling needs of their children. iii. The system of the many orphanages except one or two is not completely transparent. This is an unusual thing for an orphan organization to have audit report. iv. The orphanages present in Pakistan are not sufficient to accommodate all the orphan children and they are often over crowded. v. Children are not treated with love and care; they often become victims to crude punishments, vulgarity and harassment. This is casting an adverse effect on their personality which is a time bomb for us that can explode when they step into the society. vi. Proper training of the staff and care takers is not a practice in majority of orphanages. vii. Education is a sector where large improvement is needed, the quality of the schooling; syllabus and teachers required to be elevated. Children should be given motivational lectures to inspire and enthuse them. viii. The quality of food and other related items is not checked regularly. ix. The regular visits of doctors, dentists and psychiatrists are not in practice at majority of orphanages. Very few orphan houses have on campus facility of a doctor. When a child

x.

becomes ill, there is carelessness in seeing a doctor and giving him proper medicine. Barring SOS Village, there is no personal record of every childs performance and health which is updated regularly. This is very essential in determining the abilities and aptitude of a child.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: The authors of this report are thankful to Dr. Azhar Saleem and University of Engineering & Technology Lahore for their moral support for this paper. We are also grateful to Miss Almas Butt, Director SOS Village Lahore and authorities at Edhi Homes and Yateem Khana for cooperating with us to take deep insight into their organizations. REFERENCES: [1] http://www.sos-usa.org/about-sos/what-wedo/orphan-statistics/pages/global-orphanstatistics.aspx (accessed on 09.04.13) [2] http://www.ngos.com.pk/vulnerable/orphangespakistan.htm (accessed on 09.04.13) [3] http://www.sos.org.pk (accessed on 10.04.2013) [4] http://www.edhi.org (accessed on 10.04.13)