Lumos: the Light Providing Spell for Chidren
8 million children live in orphanages and similar institutions around the world (just imagine, that’s nearly the entire population of Hungary). 80% of these children have at least one living parent. You could wonder, if they have living parents, why can’t they take care of their children. Normally, the case is not that they are simply bad parents, but they usually face rather difficult circumstances.
Extreme poverty, disabilities, and unavailable healthcare are the usual reasons why families can’t make a desicion in favor of their children; they simply have no choice. The aim of orphanages and the state itself is stepping in and acting in favor of the child, and to give the nurishment and education they need and that their families are probably unable to provide.
However, during the past decades, several studies as well as experience have shown that in fact, this institutionalised care damages children and traumatizes them in many ways as they often have to face abuse and harm. Impersonal care is already questioned, for example if it is comfortable state for the child durig school hours in a crammed classroom, so it definitely cannot be emitonally nourishing on a day to day basis (despite all the good intentions). Hence the slogan of Lumos: children belong in families, not orphanages.
The charity organisation was formed after Rowling had seen the image of a boy in crib in an article about orphanages and decided to do something: the idea of the foundation, which was named after the light giving spell (known well from her books), was born.
Lumos claims that there is an affordable solution to this global problem. Working with international donors, governments and communities, they make sure that funds reach families, who, in this way can provide the care for their children and bring them home instead of letting them live in institutions. Their aim is to raise awareness among goverments and people and letting everyone know that not even the best institutionalised care can be as good as a loving family.
They put great effort into educating decision makers and social workers, as well as many other people involved in childcare to spread the word. The fact is that not only this solution is better for children but also for governments. Here is the reason: institutionalized care is more expensive in most cases or just as expensive as a well-built family support system. It is important to keep in mind that bulding this community support system might be more expensive at the beggining, on the short run, but since this is a way better solution for families and children as well, at the end, society is going to have healthier members. This makes the whole caring system more cost-effective andbetter for the overall economy on the long run.
Lumos puts a great emphasis on showing individual, real-life stories on their webpage, to give a face to the change they are working for. The real-life stories make sure you see the individuals behind how you think the situation is. Through them, you realize institutions in bad condition are not only a problem far, far away, but right here in Europe, too: according to Lumos, the situation in Eastern-Europe is quite apalling, this is the reason for when J. K. Rowling started the foundation, they began the work in Moldova, the poorest country in Europe.
The goals they sat are certainly not small and easy ones: by 2035, they aim to help over 4 million children, and by 2050 they intend to end all institutionalized care and working with donors such as the United States Government, the Worldbank and the European Union.
Video: Always JK Rowling YouTube-csatorna