06 August 2018

BBC Radio 4 interview blows away myth of ‘good’ orphanages

Hope and Homes for Children’s CEO, Mark Waddington, and orphanage survivor, Oggi Tomic, have appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, explaining why overseas orphanages do more harm than good.

Mark and Oggi were interviewed by presenter, Mishal Husain, following the UK Government’s groundbreaking commitment to a long-term plan to ensure all children grow up in families.

To hear the interview in full click BBC Radio 4 Today and scroll to 2 hours, 47 minutes, 50 seconds.

Mark told Today’s seven million listeners, “there is no such thing as a good orphanage,” because even in apparently well-run orphanages, children suffer emotional neglect which “leads to long-term, harmful conditions, including psychological problems and the inability to socialise properly when they age-out of the orphanage system”.

Oggi Tomic, who is now an award-winning filmmaker based in the UK, grew up in a series of orphanages in Bosnia and Herzegovina and survived the Bosnian war, sheltering in the notorious Bjelave orphanage in Sarajevo. Mishal Husain asked him what the orphanages were like.

“No matter how great the toys you get, how much sweets you get, latest clothes, we don’t want to be there. No child wants to be in an orphanage and no child should be living in an orphanage. Every child deserves a loving family. I’m shocked that they [orphanages] still exist in the 21st Century,” he said.

“But what if there are no alternatives and orphanages are closed down and younger children end up on the streets?” Mishal asked Mark.

“This never happens,” he explained. “This is a long-term process and it’s a process called Deinstitutionalisation and it requires us to put in prevention services, close orphanages down by placing children in alternative care and make sure those services are in place to support families to absorb them.”

Oggi, concluded, “If we as human beings keep saying “what if”, then orphanages will never close.”


Read more about  the Government’s statement on orphanages and our response here