“Authentic relationships with those in need have a way of correcting the we-will-rescue-you mind-set and replacing it with mutual admiration and respect.”
Many orphanages around the world are isolated from their local communities in the name of “protecting” the children. As a result, many orphans throughout the world are completely isolated from their communities and thus robbed of opportunities to build valuable relationships as well as serve those around them. Without involvement in a community, including involvement in and with local churches, no child can fulfill his or her God given purpose to serve using his or her unique gifts and talents. And, in turn, they will be unable to develop the critical self-respect that comes from knowing that they have many things to offer others all around them.
At Providence, we are working to develop a framework for orphan care providers to use to ensure that their children are fully integrated into their local community, through churches, after-school programming, service opportunities, activities, events, and other relationship-building opportunities. We are also working to develop best practices for short-term mission trips and internships from around the world to introduce the children to their global community in healthy, productive, and life-giving ways. In so doing, we are working to avoid the potentially destructive results that many short-term trips have on the communities they are attempting to “serve.”
It is also critical that the local community has a sense of ownership over the project, to ensure long-term success and sustainability. So we’re working on a framework to develop as well as nurture community buy-in and ownership of orphan care projects around the world.