Children's Rights

“All children deserve equal oppurtunity despite race and gender to attain the best life possible and to reach their ultimate dreams.”


Table of Contents
1.) Goggle Earth Tour
2.) History of Orphanages
3.) Causes of Orphans and Orphanages
4.) How Orphanages Affect Children
5.) Perpetrators of the Abuse
6.) International Help
7.) Involved Organizations
8.) How to Take Action
9.) Video
10.) Photostory
11.) Citations
12.) Bibliography


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1.) Google Earth Tour



2.) History of Orphanages


Orphanages began appearing in the 18th century, a time period where the life expectancy was not great and women died during childbirth. Children were left born motherless, and those with mothers, sometimes grew up living in the street as a result of the mother’s inability to provide for them. The first orphanages emerged in Europe and England, which eventually spread to North America. New York, Mississippi and Georgia were places where most orphanages started. During this time, orphaned children usually lived with other relatives. The 1900’s is when orphanages started to become more popular due to the Industrial Revolution. In America, 100,000 children lived in orphanages by 1910 [1].

In the 1950’s and 1960’s, opinions changed when society believed children do better in a family environment instead of an orphanage. This created foster and group homes that eventually led to the closure of most orphanages [1]. However, there are still many orphanages around the world today. They exist in a range of places, such as the U.S., Nepal, Sierra Leone and India.


3.) Causes of Orphans and Orphanages

In the United States, results of the Industrial Revolution included poverty, long working hours, crime, and poor living conditions which made life harder. This caused parents to be away from home and their children. Within time, the Civil War began, taking the lives of parents and orphaned children. By 1850, 27 orphanages existed in New York, yet there were still 10,000 children living in the streets [1].

The period after World War I (1914-1918) was another cause of orphans. Parents were not married and children were abandoned and neglected. To make matters worse, the 1930 Great Depression greatly impacted families. Parents loss jobs and were unable to pay to feed their families. This led churches to house children in order to feed them until their parents were able to take them home once they were able to provide again. Consequently, social welfare and government subsidies were used to help the needy [1].

However, opinions changed in the 1950’s and 1960’s when society believed children do better in a family environment instead of an orphanage. This created foster and group homes that eventually led to the closure of orphanages [1].

All over the world, there are other various causes of orphans. For example, natural disasters such as tsunamis, hurricanes, and earthquakes take their tolls on families. Flooding can cause families to lose their homes and children to get separated from their parents. Disease also creates orphans, especially in Africa. One statistic said there are an estimated 14 million AIDS orphans currently living in Sub-Sahara Africa [8]. Being an orphan in Africa, which is still developing and full of poverty, is not beneficial. The current rebel war in Sierra Leone and Darfur make it difficult for orphanages to receive supplies, and therefore, to care for its children. This leads to many children living in the streets unable to find food, clothing, and clean water. In addition to natural disasters and disease, accidents is another cause of orphans. Car accidents happen everyday, along with the occasional plane and train accident. It is very possible that two parents driving in the same car can get into an accident and sadly pass on. This results in orphaning the children of these parents, who will go to a relative, orphanage, or foster home.

Another cause of orphans and orphanages is regulations. For instance, in areas of China, more than one girl is not allowed in a household. The traditions of the Chinese culture also affect girls because when they are married, they move into the husband's family's home. This means the girl moves out of her home leaving her family behind as if she never existed. Therefore, there is a greater demand for boys in China because they carry on the family's name. Consequently, many girls are abandoned and orphaned. Over 4 million girls are currently living in the orphanages of China.


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4.) How Orphanages Affect Children


The issue of being an orphan obviously affects children. The problem with orphanages is that sometimes, they are unable to meet the basic needs of children. This includes providing a certain number of meals and well-fitting clothing. Some orphanages, such as the Nepal Children Organization (NCO), fail to meet minimum standards set by the government. An example is where and what education the children receive. Apparently, 444 orphanages in Nepal should be improved by providing training for management or shut down completely [2]. Places like these are the types of orphanages that negatively affect children.

Children don’t get enough attention, and in the worst case, they can be in a dangerous and unregulated place where they are at risk of abuse or neglect [3]. A 14-year old girl named Rama states that in NCO, she’s “enjoying here with friends and having fun but sometimes I need to compromise on many things”[2]. Rama and her sister live in NCO with 12 other girls in one room where everyday is the same, especially the meals. As a result, they have to compromise on meals and living space. In addition, the children in NCO complain of inadequate facilities, which include poor bathrooms and dining areas.

Another effect of living in an orphanage is having to skip meals, as Rama has had to do in order to "compromise." This leaves some children starving, which there are too many of in places like Liberia. Also, living in an orphanage can cause mental and social issues. For instance, a child may become depressed when losing hope of being adopted and wondering why they are parentless.


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5.) Perpetrators of the Abuse


Although some orphans experience abuse in an orphanage, most orphanages do not intend to hurt their children. For instance, orphanages that are located in a poverty-stricken region will naturally struggle to find enough food and clothing for its orphans. Orphanages do not intentionally keep orphans from receiving needs, but for some who are low on necessities and facilities don’t do anything to improve these conditions.

The manager and staff of an orphanage have the responsibility to care for a certain number of children. It is their responsibility to ask for help if a bathroom is broken or find ways of receiving donations. Therefore, the only way to say an orphanage is a perpetrator of abuse is if they actually cause abuse or neglect, of if they are passive – meaning they aren’t doing what they should be. This includes getting food, providing clothing, and giving the children an education.


6.) International Help

Many orphanages and children around the world are receiving aid from various organizations. One of them is UNICEF, who follows the Convention on the Rights of the Child. They use and advocate these guidelines to make awareness for children whose rights are being violated globally. UNICEF is currently involved with 160 countries helping to ratify the Convention to gain rights for every child [4].

UNICEF helps children by offering expert advice to those wishing to implement the Convention. An example of how UNICEF does this is by "encouraging legislative reform in States parties to the Convention"[5]. This leads to helping children because countries adopt the Convention on the Rights of the Child which then gives children their rights.
In addition, UNICEF helps to provide education to all children. They believe education is a “fundamental human right”[6]. Education is vital because it provides both girls and boys with the knowledge needed to have better lives, and later, to change the world. Education will also allow children to learn about HIV/AIDS and how to prevent/treat it. In the future, the rate of HIV/AIDS will decrease leading to fewer deaths and orphans, especially in Africa. Thanks to UNICEF, children receive an education that is not based on their gender or ethnicity.

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7.) Involved Organizations

Besides UNICEF, there are numerous organizations that are fighting for children’s rights every day. Below is a description and link of each organization.

Save the Children: Their mission is to attain healthy, safe and educated lives for children. They also have programs that give prenatal care to mothers, build schools in developing countries and provide children with immunizations [5].

http://www.savethechildren.org/about/mission/?WT.mc_id=1109_sp_au_mission

SOS Children Villages: This organization has 500 children villages in 132 countries that are raising 80,000 children. The children who live here have been abandoned or orphaned and welcomed into a loving village home [6].

http://www.sos-usa.org/About-SOS/Pages/default.aspx

Operation Blessing Orphan Care: This organization has various groups of programs that help children who are aging out of orphanages, are orphans of HIV/AIDS, or living in the streets. Below is the link to their website and a video of how you can help [7].

http://ob.org/orphancare/what_we_do_08.asp

8.) Video

Orphan's Need Your Help - Click here for more free videos
9.) How to Take Action


Take a moment to think about your childhood. Did you grow up with a loving family, or alone in an orphanage? Think about all the children in the world without parents. Don’t you want to help them? Well you can. Find the nearest orphanage to you and donate food, clothing, toys, or money to help children. Better yet, sponsor an orphan in another country like Ethiopia. You can donate a small amount of money, such as $35 per month, to a child in need. Just a small contribution can make a huge difference. There are families who live on less than a $1 per day. Sponsoring a family with $35 is equivalent to giving them a month’s salary. As for donating items to an orphanage, this is an excellent idea that will give children hope that people care and are thinking about them.


Actions You Can Take
- Donate items (clothing, food, toys) to a nearby orphanage
- Sponsor an orphan in another country
- Get your church to start a collection for donations
- Have a fundraiser to raise money to donate to an orphanage
- Volunteer time to help out at a local orphanage or shelter

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One way to help orphans is to donate food to an orphange.

10.) Photostory




11.) Citations


[1] "Orphanages." Legends & Legacies. 1999. Legends & Legacies, Web. 7 Dec 2009. <http://www.legends.ca/orphanages/orphanHistory.html>.

[2] "Orphanages in Nepal not up to national standard." People's Daily Online. 09 Oct 2009. Web. 7 Dec 2009. <
http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90777/90851/6778406.html>.

[3] "Home: Orphanage: Encyclopedia." consideringadopting.com. 22 Nov 2009. Web. 3 Dec 2009. <
http://www.consideringadopting.com/Orphanage/encyclopedia.htm>.

[4] "Unicef in Action ." unicef. 03 Jul 2006. Web. 6 Dec 2009. <
http://www.unicef.org/crc/index_action.html>.

[5] "About Us: Mission and Priorities." Save the Children. Jul 2009. Save the Children, Web. 09 Dec 2009. <
http://www.savethechildren.org/about/mission/?WT.mc_id=1109_sp_au_mission>.

[6] "About SOS Children's Villages." SOS Children's Villages. Web. 06 Dec 2009. <
http://www.sos-usa.org/About-SOS/Pages/default.aspx>.


[7] "What We Do." Orphan's Care. 1997-2008. Operation Blessing International, Web. 11 Dec 2009. <http://ob.org/orphancare/what_we_do_08.asp>.

[8] "Orphan Statistics." Skyward Journey. Nov 1998. Web. 11 Dec 2009. <http://skywardjourney.wordpress.com/orphan-statistics/>.


12.) Bibliography


"Orphanages." Legends & Legacies. 1999. Legends & Legacies, Web. 7 Dec 2009. <http://www.legends.ca/orphanages/orphanHistory.html>.

"Orphanages in Nepal not up to national standard." People's Daily Online. 09 Oct 2009. Web. 7 Dec 2009. <
http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90777/90851/6778406.html>.

"Home: Orphanage: Encyclopedia." consideringadopting.com. 22 Nov 2009. Web. 3 Dec 2009. <
http://www.consideringadopting.com/Orphanage/encyclopedia.htm>.

"Unicef in Action ." unicef. 03 Jul 2006. Web. 6 Dec 2009. <
http://www.unicef.org/crc/index_action.html>.

"About Us: Mission and Priorities." Save the Children. Jul 2009. Save the Children, Web. 09 Dec 2009. <
http://www.savethechildren.org/about/mission/?WT.mc_id=1109_sp_au_mission>.

"About SOS Children's Villages." SOS Children's Villages. Web. 06 Dec 2009. <
http://www.sos-usa.org/About-SOS/Pages/default.aspx>.


"What We Do." Orphan's Care. 1997-2008. Operation Blessing International, Web. 11 Dec 2009. <http://ob.org/orphancare/what_we_do_08.asp>.

"Orphan Statistics." Skyward Journey. Nov 1998. Web. 11 Dec 2009. <http://skywardjourney.wordpress.com/orphan-statistics/>.