Child Abuse In Orphanages
The revelation of the abuse that had been happening at a Blantyre-based orphanage, Kondanani Children's Village appalled me to the core. For those who are not familiar with the news, Platform for Investigative Journalism, exposed the abuse that had been occurring at this well-known institution (P.S. the orphanage where Madonna adopted one of her children).
It is was reported that a Christian missionary(pastor), who also happens to be the guardian (father figure) at the orphanage was accused of sexually abusing several underage girls. He infected them with sexually transmitted diseases and chased them from Kondanani Children’s village to cover up the abuse. Two orphans, who were residents at the orphanage reported to have been sexually abused for over a period of five years, starting from the time when they were each only sixteen years old.
This abuse, took also other forms including mental abuse, where the children were manipulated and threatened. The abuse had been going on for years and years, unchecked. According to rumors, there were a number of worries about the orphanage's children's safety and rights, but no one seemed to pay any attention to them until now when it is already too late.
We have a lot of orphanages in our nation—the majority of which aren't even registered as such— and are mostly run by non-governmental organizations, religious institutions, and private citizens. The sad part is that, most of these orphanages and children’s homes are left unmonitored hence most likely to get away with abuse. The Kondanani Children’s Village case has revealed a truth that we have been ignoring for far too long: not all orphanages work with the best of intentions; others only do it to receive donations. Children who are vulnerable are left defenseless in what are meant to be their safe spaces.
Orphanages relieve the government of some of its oversight duties for orphans who have nowhere else to go. However, this does not imply that the government and other groups that work to protect children must abdicate all of their duties. We should not just watch on as children are let down by everyone including the people who swear to protect them at all costs, including the police, the courts, and child protective agencies.
Kondanani Orphans Village must thoroughly be investigated and held accountable for their heinous deeds. May this teach our government and other organizations that children, including those in orphanages, must be protected at all costs.
Most of the orphanages in this country must be scrutinized and extensively monitored to ensure that they are acting in the best interests of the children. Children in orphanages need to be as protected as other priviledged children.