Thursday, February 18, 2010
A friend of Peter's sent him the link to an article in TIME Magazine entitled
UNICEF seeks to keep kids out of Haiti orphanages
The journalists who penned this article did a poor job of doing research. Maybe they had a deadline to meet? They generalized from stories of some orphanages to make it sound like anyone who desires to help the children is a borderline child trafficker. I am aware of many shelters for children who do fantastic work with very little means. We do everything in our power to care for children and to give them a safe and loving home. Yes, there are places that are nothing more than businesses for the owner or worse. But to lump us all together?
The writers were unfair to parents who are so desperately poor that they will consider giving up their child so that s/he can eat, maybe go to school, have a chance at a better life. These people are not callous nor are they loveless. They are POOR. What a disservice to the people of Haiti!
The director of UNICEF Haiti is quoted as saying "No to the orphanages in Haiti!". Wow, what a sound bite. Remember the post I wrote a couple of days ago when I was ranting about the fancy offices, the cold air-conditioning, the shiny cars of the big NGOs and their strategy to "make systemic change" rather than waste their time actually helping children by feeding them, clothing them, providing medical care...? Well, the one big NGO that had converted an old mansion into a gleaming office space with beautiful furniture and striking art work, that had lots of very busy people working on their computers, that had security guards protecting them from the riff-raff, that had paved over a large courtyard so that they could park their new SUVs...was UNICEF Haiti. They made a conscious choice not to practice direct intervention to assist a child. They have not helped any orphanage that I'm aware of in providing the basics like food, clothing, medicine, education. How very noble to stand there now and say "No to the Haitian orphanages!". I was told "No" years ago by them and have cringed every time I see the slick fundraising UNICEF puts out every holiday season.
Phew, thanks for listening. I feel better now.