Redefining the Orphanage

By Kelechi Eleanya

Stop! Hear the cry. Feel the loneliness. Touch the unloved and experience the joy of being there for one person – for a child left alone to flow through life.

The “orphanage” is termed a home for children whose parents are gone/ dead. And an orphan is a child whose parents are dead, gone, have disappeared.

Another look at this definition? You discover thousands of children who’ve never lost their parents, but are in the orphanage. Some were neglected, abandoned due to fear of how to care for them or, outright wickedness from a mother or irresponsible father. Whichever it is, some people have hidden their inhumane character under the disguise of: “the orphanage will pick the child up!” This way they let the innocent child suffer for what he/she never caused.

It was but a few weeks ago when I decided to personally visit an orphanage with friends. Children of different ages, cultures, looked on with hope for a brighter day, a surer tomorrow, as we walked into the poorly kept rooms where they lay.

As we walked among and held the children with love – we saw smiles of relief and happiness for the touch that had been long sought after. And these were the images easily read from the faces of each child.

This was only the beginning. Our amazing discoveries came when we lifted the spirit within the entire compound and danced together. Oh! This really was more than a miracle at the orphanage on this cool evening.

Ahmed, a deaf 10-year-old, was the best dancer. One wondered how this boy could hear the rhythm, flow stylishly with the groove of the music and lead the day.

Serah had never talked to anyone before our arrival and was hiding her face in one corner of the room. This all became past tense with a little gift of a cap and a word of love. Serah not only left her hiding place but followed us to the dance floor with all of the other kids.

My conclusion was embedded with the fact that there is a wealth of talent and richness of abilities that lies wasted in an orphanage but – it can be reversed.

It begins with a step, a definite step: a starting point for stardom; the discovery place for champions; the molding ground for tomorrow’s leaders.

You can begin the change through one call to one world. Let’s harness the untapped potential of kids who offended no one by coming into the world. It could have been you. It could have been me.

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