There is an ongoing controversy about orphanage children still having at least one parent alive, and that many people opening orphanages are better off empowering poor parents instead.
I think both interventions are valid and can co-exist. They are anything but mutually exclusive. As a matter of fact, the world needs both very much. One just need to study the situation to know which approach to take and how knowing the same problem might require different solutions in different context.
In an ideal world, every parent should, within their means, be able to provide for their children. It should not matter how lowly or highly placed they are, making the decision to birth children should automatically means you have evaluated the consequences of that reasonably and you have seen that you are able to care for them. Many will not take in pets they do not have the capacity to care for, how much more babies?
However, many of our fantasies on an ideal world will remain in the realm of dreams. Many will not come to pass and we have no choice but to work with the reality we have and make the most of them.
A Case for the Importance of Orphanages in Our Society The reality is; the percentage might be different from country to country, region to region, state to state but we will always have teenage pregnancies amongst us, and unwanted pregnancies across all ages. The possibility of the said teenagers eventually becoming young grandmothers will also be high as they most likely will not have what it takes to properly raise their children, especially if they do not have solid support system.
Also, pregnancies from rape, pregnancies influenced by parents shirking in their parenting responsibilities leaving their children to find their own way through life practically unaided will not cease. This is not being a little miss doomsday prophet, but it is what it is.
A case in point is that of 22-year old Adisa Oluwafunmilola who murdered her 1-year old plus daughter in the most cold blooded way. In her story, she said she did not want to keep the pregnancy initially having been impregnated by a guy who did not accept the pregnancy, but she was prevailed upon to keep it by family and friends.
According to her, her sister who was most vocal about her keeping the pregnancy did not do as much as she expected, and she felt the girl was a needless baggage impeding her progress in life. All these culminated in her taking a decision to end the girl’s life.
Many have opined that she must be a mentally disturbed person, and with the way she was so bright eyed narrating to the police how she killed her own daughter as if she were recollecting how she merely spilt a can of evaporated milk, they might not be very far from the truth.
There is a saying in Yoruba language that ‘a o ri iru eleyi ri, a fi n d’eru ba oloro ni’ which roughly translates to ‘there is nothing new under the sun’, nevertheless some incidents would still knock one’s socks off. This is one of the cases for me. It is traumatising imagining what the poor child must have gone through as she fought for her life; her confusion as life slowly ebbs away from her.
Orphanages: To Continue or Not to Continue? I once read an article condemning the continued existence of orphanages. The writer was of the opinion that many of the so-called orphans in homes have one or both parents still alive and that they voluntarily bring their wards to the homes as a result of economic deprivation. Therefore they would rather the children live at orphanages where they will have better chances of going to school and being fed than they continue staying with them. So, this school of thought opined that instead of establishing orphanages, why not empower these parents so they are able to take care of their children who in turn have the opportunity to grow up among families?
It is a good and valid point, but my problem with this school is; many of them have not taken into account parents like Adisa Olufunmilola who might not want to have anything to do with the child; parents who outright hate their children. What do we do with these ones? Will it be enough to just empower them financially? Will financial empowerment be enough to keep the child safe with them?
The answer, for me, is a resounding no. A parent who hated a child or the history surrounding them will likely behave like Adisa. Wouldn’t it be better if she had gone to abandon the poor girl at the gate of one of the orphanages around? It is not ideal as no child should be abandoned, but she would have at least had a chance to life instead of being drowned in a plastic container like the poor girl.
Would anyone have minded that the girl is not really an orphan knowing the fate that would have befallen her continued stay with her mom? In this wise, I think it is immaterial whether the children in orphanages are real orphans or not, so far we are able to prevent this kind of unfortunate incidents in the future.