Investigations state that eight million children are currently abandoned in orphanages. The Global Panorama takes a closer look at the issue.

The discrepancies between the claimed and the concrete do abound. But as actions speak louder than words, and thorough investigations are likely to blow the lid off the huge gulf between expectations and reality. The case of the countless disabled children left behind in orphanages is one of the many tokens of a corrupt world.

Investigations have shown that eight million children are abandoned in orphanages. Disabled children and those from ethnic minority communities are over-represented in institutions, confirms the UNICEF.

This issue compels many human rights advocates to spill the ink since the number of disabled children abandoned in orphanages is colossal. According to Human Rights Watch, Russia, for instance, has 30% of its handicapped children ostracised from community in many care institutions. Lumos has been making great strides towards reducing children institutionalisation and has been collecting stories of abandoned children in orphanages. One such story is of Corina, who was thrown in an orphanage because she had a difficulty in pronunciation. She always felt rejected and thus became shy and introverted.

The Disability Rights International (DRI), a non-governmental organisation promoting human rights, conducted meticulous investigations to eventually reveal the behind-the-scenes transgressions ranging from neglect to physical and sexual violence. Some orphanages turned into havens of sex, child labour and organ traffic as seen in the case of Ukraine, according to the DRI. Besides, certain orphanages in the Czech Republic used caged beds for disabled children. And that was one of the reasons behind J.K Rowling founding Lumos. Studies have shown also that these orphans are neither provided with the food their bodies need to function, nor the education their minds need to run.

Orphans in Africa: parental death, poverty, and school enrollment is a publication that tackled the issue of school enrollment in 10 sub-Saharan African countries and it was clearly visible how orphans are less likely to get an education than non-orphans.

The future of disabled children in orphanages is most of the times bleak. DRI President Laurie Ahern once said, ” For children with disabilities, they are often the most abused and neglected and most will die in institutions. Children who are let go or “graduate” from facilities at the age of 15 or 16 are sitting ducks for traffickers as they face life on the streets alone.”

Besides physical abuse, these children are more susceptible to grow with resentment. They are “taught their lives are not worthy of the basic human rights that you and I are afforded”, Ahern said.

— Roïya Souissi, Correspondent (Our World)

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