Why you should not visit Orphanages while visiting Myanmar

Children are not tourist attractions : Myanmar offers many beautiful, exotic and interesting sites to visit but an orphanage is not one of them. 

During your visit in Myanmar, you may be invited (Definitely not by LITS)  to visit at an orphanage or children's home. You may be asked for a small donation to assist with the running costs. In other countries, an entire industry has grown out of this practice, and it can be dangerous and damaging for children. 

73% of the children living in orphanages still have parents. These children should grow up in a family. Orphanages can be dangerous and harmful places for children. By visiting orphanages, you support systems that often separate children from families.  

May orphanages rely almost entirely on donations from visitors to survive. Poor living conditions for children may be purposely maintained to encourage you to donate. By visiting orphanages and making a donation you may be fuelling a system that exploits children. Short term visits to orphanages can cause harm to children's development and well-being. It also exposes them to risk of abuse and exploitation by ill intentioned tourists. Most tourists would never consider going to an orphanage in their own countries. An orphanage is a child's home - it is not a zoo - and children deserves privacy. 

Children in Myanmar are not different from children in your country. They should be afforded the same basic rights and protection. Please think twice before visiting an orphanage. 

For more information : www.thinkchildsage.org or www.unicef.org/myanmar 

Reference : Report on the Situation of Children in Residential Care Facilities in Myanmar in 2011, Department of Social Welfare and UNICEF Myanmar. 


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