06 August 2018

“I know that orphanages are harmful to children. I know that every child needs a family”


Rukhiya Budden revisiting the Kenyan orphanage where she grew up

Our Ambassador, Rukhiya Budden, has been sharing her harrowing personal story of growing up in an orphanage in Kenya with listeners to BBC radio’s most popular current affairs show.


Speaking to Vanessa Feltz (standing in for Jeremy Vine) on BBC Radio 2, Rukhiya described the abuse and neglect she suffered as a young girl, trying to survive without the love and protection of a family in an orphanage in Nairobi.

Rukhiya’s full interview is available to listen to here BBC Radio 2 (fast forward to 1 hour, 7 minutes and 58 seconds)

She went on to explain why she is so delighted about the UK Government’s recent commitment to the process of ending orphanage care worldwide.

In July, the International Development Secretary, Penny Mordaunt, formally acknowledged for the first time that growing up in institutions “harms children’s physical, emotional and psychological development” and announced that the Government would continue “to work towards the long-term process of de-institutionalisation” by supporting family and community-based care for all children.

Rukhiya told Vanessa,  “I want to show gratitude on behalf of my eight million brothers and sisters, confined to orphanages all over the world. I want to show gratitude to the UK Government for acknowledging their pain and suffering and for standing up and taking this step to say enough is enough”.

Remembering her own childhood in an orphanage, Rukhiya told Vanessa, “No one ever checked my school report, no one came to my sports days, no one read me stories at bedtime, all the things I do for my own children today”.

“I know that orphanages are harmful to children. I know that every child, regardless of their situation, needs to have a family. They need a place to belong”, she told the programme’s 7.4 million listeners.