It is easy to make assumptions when we hear of children living in orphanages in developing countries: They must be orphans if they’re living in an orphanage, or their families have abandoned them, or at least an orphanage provides a better environment for them to grow up in when you consider the extreme poverty they’ve come from.
However, the problem with assumptions is that they generally don’t see the whole picture. Assumptions ‘suppose’ something to be the case, without actual proof. This can affect the way we deal with issues, creating new problems without solving the old ones.
Despite our assumptions, orphanages are not filled with orphans or children without adequate parental care. Up to 80% of children living in orphanages globally have families. Due to issues such as extreme poverty where little or no support is available to assist families in crisis, desperate families will place children in orphanages to ensure their children receive food, education and clothing.
And so orphanages create a ‘pull factor’ which encourages family separation. Most of these parents love their children and do not wish to abandon or be separated from them, but there are no other options. But society has given these families limited choices. Our assumptions have given these families no choice but to separate.