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Illegal orphanages in Uganda funded by UK charities

DONATIONS: UK charities have been sending funds overseas to support illegal orphanages and children's homes in Uganda

UK CHARITIES have been funding at least 60 illegal orphanages in Uganda, it has been revealed.

Some of the children’s homes and orphanages that were receiving financial support from a number of charities in the UK reportedly abused and neglected those in their care.

The Ugandan government has told donors in the UK to vet the organisations that they are giving money to.

It has also unveiled an initiative to shut down over 500 illegal orphanages across Uganda.

According to an investigation by the BBC, registered UK charities were providing financial support to dozens of the organisations listed for closure by the Ugandan government.

Some of the charities contacted by the BBC said that they did not know the orphanages and homes they were sending funds to were illegal.

A number of the homes identified as illegal by the Ugandan authorities had also had visits from UK volunteers.

Children housed in one illegal home funded by UK donors were found to be living in squalid conditions, the BBC reported.

Many of the children were suffering from skin infections, there was no access to running water and one boy had been circumcised and had an infection that had gone untreated.

The home, one of dozens earmarked for closure was shut down by the government and the children were sent back to live with their relatives.

Families struggling to care and provide for their children have been persuaded to send them to children’s homes after being promised that they would be educated but instead they were subjected to beatings and unsanitary living conditions.

One woman who sent her two youngest sons – aged seven and five – to a home said the eldest one caught typhoid after he drank contaminated water.

Concern over orphanages in developing countries has been growing in recent years.

In 2017, Projects Abroad, an international volunteering company announced it was severing all ties with overseas orphanages.

A statement on its website reads: “For many years, Projects Abroad has worked closely with orphanages and other residential care centres abroad to help provide better care and support to vulnerable children. Our volunteers have made a significant impact by improving living conditions at these orphanages. They have helped create opportunities for children through supporting their education and care.

“However, placing children in orphanages and residential homes should be the last resort for any child. Wherever possible, children should be raised by their parents, close family, or a foster family from the extended community. This community-based approach to care is a more sustainable and long-term solution to caring for vulnerable children than orphanages.”

Research into child development has shown that orphanages can have negative impacts on children’s growth.

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