29 November 2018

Global ambassador calls on UK Government to act on promise of families not orphanages for all children

Rukhiya Budden (far right) spoke to aid workers, academics and civil servants at the Bond event in London

Home and Homes for Children’s Global Ambassador, Rukhiya Budden, has called on the UK Government to live up to its commitment to help end the institutionalisation of children around the world.

Speaking to an influential audience of aid organisations, academics and civil servants, Rukhiya described the abuse and neglect she suffered as a young girl, growing up in an orphanage in Kenya.

She said her life was transformed by a loving foster family who gave her the support and encouragement she needed to study, travel and build the life she enjoys today.

Referring to the ground-breaking commitment to deinstitutionalisation, made by International Development Secretary, Penny Mordaunt, at the Global Disability Summit in July, Rukhiya said she wanted to take the chance to thank the Government.

“Thank you on behalf of my 8 million brothers and sisters who are confined to orphanages today, for  listening to their pain and suffering,” she said.

But she went on to urge the Government to make the issue a priority and to adopt a formal policy on institutionalisation, adding, “I am desperate to see minister’s words turned into actions and to make sure their promise is not forgotten no matter what political changes take place.”

Specifically, she recommended that the UK use its significant global influence to bring other countries on board, by running a political campaign on institutions ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting taking place in 2020 – which will involve Rukhiya’s native country, Kenya.

Rukhiya was speaking at a meeting organised by the Bond Child Rights Group, a network for UK international development organisations, influencing the UK Government to put children at the heart of its international development and foreign policy. The discussion was focused on the experience of the most vulnerable children, including children in institutions, children with disabilities and children affected by conflicts and disasters.

The event, which  took place in London, was timed to coincide with Universal Children’s Day on November 20th when children’s rights are promoted and celebrated around the world.

You can find the link to listen to Rukhiya’s story here when she was interviewed on the BBC World Service Outlook programme in September.