SAVING LIVES AND CREATING FAMILIES
Children need a loving, caring environment where they can thrive. To this end, OrphanCARE Foundation (OrphanCARE) is seeking to give orphans and abandoned babies in Malaysia the love, care and security of a family. Established in 2008, OrphanCARE works closely with the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development (the Ministry) to place orphans and unwanted children with loving families, as it believes no child should be raised in an institution. OrphanCARE is not an orphanage; it is a transit centre for babies and children pending adoption. It helps expedite the adoption process by matching and placing abandoned babies and children from orphanages with suitable parents. As part of its activities, OrphanCARE has set up baby hatches as safe havens for abandoned babies, with the assurance of confidentiality.
In April 2013, OrphanCARE launched its second baby hatch in Johor Bahru and facilitated the adoption of a total of 20 babies and 2 orphaned children. There was a slight reduction in the number of babies adopted in 2013 compared to the previous year due to the counselling of 22 biological mothers resulting in them keeping their babies. In 2013, OrphanCARE also engaged in several initiatives that sought to increase awareness about the plight of children who grow up in orphanages. An extension of these efforts was the forum themed “Children Should Not Be Institutionalised”, which was organised with the support of the Ministry. It is hoped that the forum will be the start of a strategic move to de-institutionalise the care of children in Malaysia.
OrphanCARE is keen to increase the number of babies and orphans that are adopted each year, and to eventually de-institutionalise most of the orphans who grow up in institutions. To achieve its goal, OrphanCARE will focus on increasing its public awareness drive for increased adoptions; bring all stakeholders on board its mission to de-institutionalise orphaned children; and work closely with the Ministry to make more accurate assessments of the number of registered and unregistered orphanages. It is optimistic that the day will come when no child in Malaysia will be raised in an institution but in the loving care of a family or their community.