A child behind the bars of a cot in an orphanage in Bosnia

What We Do: The Problem

Orphanages harm children. The majority of those who experience life inside an institution suffer violence, abuse and neglect. 

The shocking truth is that these are almost always children who have, or could have, a family to look after them. To love them. But every day, a broken system puts pressure on parents to give up their children. They’ll be safe from war, can escape poverty, will get an education. False promises. No child should have to trade their family for their future. 

Today, over 5.4 million children are trapped within institutions. It’s not right and it must stop.

Since 1994, Hope and Homes for Children has been bringing children back to family. We’re 200 people, in multiple countries, inspiring organisations, including the UN, EU and governments around the world, to get wrongfully separated children out of orphanages. Instead, we fight for every child to feel the love and belonging of a safe family home. 

As challenges get tougher, we work harder – with children, for children. Our care reform specialists set up community-based family support services. Our policy experts promote stronger child protection laws. And our skilled social workers work directly with children to keep families together, to reunite them, and to nurture new ones. Through national reform, we inspire global action. And we’ll continue. Transforming the system. Consigning orphanages to history. Until every child, everywhere, has the chance to thrive in a strong, supported family. 

Because children deserve better. 

A long journey home

Tika was taken from his family by traffickers. For a high fee, they promised his parents that he would be well cared for and educated in an institution in the city. Instead, he was taken to an orphanage, where he survived alone for two years, neglected, abused and exploited to elicit donations from tourists.

Read Tika's story