The importance of family – a response to J. K. Rowling

As an organisation who has proudly supported the rescue of abandoned children across Kenya for over two decades, New Life Home Trust UK felt a responsibility to respond to recent articles about J.K. Rowling’s criticism of children’s orphanages and volunteer travel.

First and foremost, New Life Home Trust was set up to care for abandoned babies until they could be reunited with biological family, or placed in a loving adoptive family. On account, many of the children in our care are not orphans, we simply do not know who or where their parents are. Our goal is to place all children in families as soon as it is safely possible.

As a charity, we value family – something we wish for all the children in our care. Our rescue centres ensure the children are continually cared for whilst on the search for a forever home.

Most of our babies in our care are released to adoptive families within the first 1-3 years of their lives.  We are therefore primarily offering temporary refuge while a satisfactory (non-institutional), long-term solution is found.

It is only when all family options have been exhausted, that children stay with us long-term. Nearly all of the older children in our care are classified as having health issues (HIV or disabilities), which means they cannot easily be placed in families – but our hope for family still remains.

We would like to emphasise that New Life Home Trust is NOT the kind of children’s home J. K. Rowling and others have in mind. We do not keep children unnecessarily and, where possible, try to arrange reunion with their own biological family. We agree that long-term institutionalisation of children should be avoided – looking instead to a family model.

In regards to our international volunteers, our volunteers are culturally-aware people hoping to make a real difference in our homes. Many of our volunteers visit Kenya for a specific purpose – whether it is to administer healthcare training, help to teach staff, carry out repair works, work on sustainability projects, or help to be a temporary family to the babies until their forever home is found.

Over our 20+ years, we have not only rescued over 1,800 babies, but we have placed over 1,500 of these babies into a family. 

We couldn’t do it without the support of our donors, staff, supporters and volunteers. So once again we say a huge ‘thank you!’