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to think that a looking after six orphans is a full-time job and a constitutes a worthy cause?

(193 Posts)
starfield Sun 21-Apr-13 12:08:33

My friends, both with relevant degrees, are moving themselves and their two small children to another country in order to run a tiny home-from-home orphanage with the aim of providing disadvantaged babies and toddlers with a safe place in which to emotionally and physically heal. The shelter would be a home for up to six children at any one time.

They consider that a sustainable venture requires two additional local carers besides themselves, as some of the children are emotionally troubled and physically very ill and need nursing through the night.

My friends would work hand in hand with local authorities who leave the children with them, then collect them when a local adoption placement or similar has been identified (and the child in question is well enough to go).

They've successfully run an almost identical project before with twice as many children. That came to an end through no fault of their own. Without question, they were instrumental in saving children's lives, especially children who were on some last-chance medications which proved incredibly demanding to administer. I could say a great deal more about this but don't want to give identifying details.

The difference now is that they're starting their own project from scratch.

My friends have a christian faith and would be sharing that with the children where appropriate. However this has not detracted from their professionalism in any way and they're held in respect by government agencies. Their 'home' church here has helped significantly but is not in a position to fund this venture. Nor do they belong to a wealthy religious denomination.

Having seen a project like this in practice, I cannot think of a more worthy cause. But DH tells me that many people (his family included) see missionary work as a lifestyle choice for those who like the sun and dislike the 9-5 grind.

He thinks it will be very difficult to persuade anyone to fund a venture that's trying to make at least three full-time jobs out of caring for six children. After all, many people in the UK have six children and manage to work.

Am I being unreasonable to think that most right-thinking people should consider this venture a worthy cause? If not, could you tell me what would make it a worthy cause?

nicewatch Sun 21-Apr-13 12:12:43

No religious involvement would make it a worthy cause, by my definition.

Sorry, I have huge ethical problems with missionary work. I would not donate to or otherwise support any missionary project.

scaevola Sun 21-Apr-13 12:15:00

I think that if it is missionary work, then the parent church should be funding it.

ThatGhastlyWoman Sun 21-Apr-13 12:15:40

I think your friends are wonderful. Your DH is being ridiculous- how many families have 6 children with such complex needs?

Re: the religious aspect- I am not in any way religious myself, but I really do respect people who practise their faith in this way. It's one of the best aspects of Christianity.

Wish I was wealthy enough to contribute.

NotYoMomma Sun 21-Apr-13 12:15:48

What country?
Is it Christian?
If the kids weren't Christian would their religious desires be ok etc etc?

MajaBiene Sun 21-Apr-13 12:16:35

I agree - using emotionally and physically vulnerable children to push your religion is totally unethical.

LittleBairn Sun 21-Apr-13 12:17:03

I'm a Christian and I would not finically support them. The whole 'sharing' their faith with vulnerable children who will need them in order to stay safe and possibly even alive is taking advantage.
There are many good people who are christians who do this sort of work but never mention or 'share' their faith that's the sort of people I support. Good people who try to make a difference with no agenda.

SirBoobAlot Sun 21-Apr-13 12:17:45

It would be worthwhile and wonderful if it wasn't actually an attempt to spread their faith instead of help children.

It is a missionary project.

LittleBairn Sun 21-Apr-13 12:19:19


KatieScarlett2833 Sun 21-Apr-13 12:20:27

I do not donate money to any organised religion, ever.
And I never will.

ThatGhastlyWoman Sun 21-Apr-13 12:20:54

By the sounds of it, they don't plan to preach at anyone- but will be open about their own beliefs and share them if asked to. I think that's fair enough. Given that it is a family doing this out of their own initiative, I'm far less twitchy about it than I would be if it was some sort of charismatic church funding the whole thing.

Also- not all churches are so well funded.

MissyMooandherBeaverofSteel Sun 21-Apr-13 12:22:34

Its not a worthy cause if it has conditions attached, in this case the children will be taken in and taught about the God your friends believe in and in my ooinion will be manipulated into believinng the same things. I wouldn't help fund this on that basis.

LadyPeterWimsey Sun 21-Apr-13 12:24:32

Ha! at missionary work being an easy option if you don't like 9 to 5... Especially if looking after vulnerable children is involved. Having known many (100s? of) missionaries, I can't think of a single case where their lives wouldn't have been much, much easy in their home countries.

I'm afraid, OP, that for many people the mention of sharing their faith will automatically invalidate what your friends are doing, but I do wish them the best.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Sun 21-Apr-13 12:24:53

Wouldn't the money be better spent on training and supporting individuals and families in the area to run these projects. Surely it's pretty expensive to fly and fund four people used to a particular standard of living and specific cultural norms to a place where poor health, poverty and infrastructural problems are rife. Religion aside, it is quite paternalistic.

pickledginger Sun 21-Apr-13 12:26:47

^ that.

greenteawithlemon Sun 21-Apr-13 12:29:55

I don't think it is a mission trip.

They're not over there preaching or building churches.

If you discount all of the charity work done overseas by people who have faith then you would have to discount a huge, huge proportion of it.

What about organisations like tearfund or Islamic relief? They're faith-based organisations but they're definitely not missionaries.

Faith provides the motivating factor but it's not the aim . And I say that as a confirmed artheist and someone who is very sceptical about Westerners taking various religions to developing countries.

Depending on what country it is, the children may well already be Christians.

I don't know how we'll designed or sustainable a project this is, but OP, how on earth are your friends going to do it without any funding?

greenteawithlemon Sun 21-Apr-13 12:31:35


insanityscratching Sun 21-Apr-13 12:33:26

TondelayoSchwarzkopf voices my thoughts exactly.

crashdoll Sun 21-Apr-13 12:34:11

Wouldn't the money be better spent on training and supporting individuals and families in the area to run these projects. Surely it's pretty expensive to fly and fund four people used to a particular standard of living and specific cultural norms to a place where poor health, poverty and infrastructural problems are rife. Religion aside, it is quite paternalistic.

My sentiments exactly.

AnnieLobeseder Sun 21-Apr-13 12:40:15

Well, it certainly is a very worthy cause and I have the greatest admiration for your friends for doing it. It sounds like incredibly hard work.

However, if the children are not culturally Christian, they would be very wrong to impose their own set of religious beliefs on these children. It would amount to little more than brainwashing the vulnerable. They should keep faith out of it entirely.

greenteawithlemon Sun 21-Apr-13 12:41:47

If you read the OP, two out of the four carers will be local people.

With a project like this, you do need to fly a couple of people out to do the training and supervise things- you can't just send money and expect things to get done.

starfield Sun 21-Apr-13 12:42:11

Thanks so much for these opinions.

To those who feel my friends are trying to spread their religion, rather than help children, I have a question: if you feel strongly about needy children being manipulating into believing in a loving God, why don't you go and care for them so my friends could go home?

Or would you prefer that my friends stayed here in the first place, knowing that they wouldn't be able to keep their faith under wraps if they acted according to their conscience and went off to help needy children?

You make it sound like my friends are giving them cancer!

I wish you could have seen them in the last project, where the number of children in the orphanage was unlimited and their energies were drained, rather than used. They were incredibly sleep deprived, caring for children who would die if they didn't keep going. They gave up health, strength, security - everything that most of us feel entitled to work towards. What they said to the children was pretty immaterial at that point. They believed they were acting as they'd been called to. How could anyone do anything but respect that?

Tondelayo: Of course the money would be better spent on supporting locals to run the projects and handing the thing over to locals (though they would consider it paternalistic to assume that locals ^need training^). But the reality is that it isn't happening there at the moment, and it's difficult to demonstrate the value of something if you're not actually doing it yourself at the time.

Re: the parent church funding it - ideally yes of course. But their church is small and already stretched on social outreach programmes here.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Sun 21-Apr-13 12:47:46

"you do need to fly a couple of people out to do the training and supervise things"


TondelayoSchwarzkopf Sun 21-Apr-13 12:48:55

Starfield why don't they work on the social outreach programmes here?

starfield Sun 21-Apr-13 12:50:12

Children are coming from a mixture of backgrounds and absolutely nothing is expected from them in terms of a faith-based response. They're prayed for before they go to sleep. Some songs about Jesus. That sort of thing.

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