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Supporting Family-Based Care

Tara Winkler's Talk on Orphanages Considers Internal Exploitation

— September 19, 2017 — Keynote Trends
Tara Winkler, an activist, author, and child protection leader, begins her talk on orphanages by telling her audience about the time she spent volunteering in Cambodia.

While there, she was motivated to help those she was in contact with, so she decided to donate clothing and money to local orphanages. In an effort to do something more, she volunteered to teach English, and raised more money to support an orphanage that was particularly poor. Eventually, she came to learn that the orphanage that she was working to support was incredibly corrupt, and all of the money that had been donated was embezzled by the director, who was also neglecting and abusing the children there.

Winkler continued to try and help these children by starting her own orphanage in Cambodia, and learned to speak the language, which allowed her to communicate with the children there. Through this, she learned that many of the children actually had parents or extended family who they could be living with. After learning this, she became aware of the fact that many families institutionalize their children out of desperation and a lack of support.

Often times, they do this as a result of the actions of tourists, who often come to orphanages to volunteer and raise money for these orphanages. This results in more orphanages opening, and more families placing their children in them. In addition to the exploitation that occurs within these institutions, children who grow up in them are more likely to have severe mental health issues, and have difficulty understanding family dynamics, which is vital to a healthy development.

Winkler continues by telling her audience of the steps that can be taken to help children in need, such as providing support to families, and offering foster care alternatives to those who don't have family to take care of them any longer.