Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Day in the Life of an Orphan

(We came across this information today and we really wanted to share it with our readers.)

Bedrooms and Bedtime
During the first few years at the orphanage, babies sleep in a room that contains 18-20 cribs and possibly a single changing table.  Usually the nursery walls are painted white or a pale color.  The children are rarely rocked to sleep or comforted when they cry during the night.
When orphaned children get older, they sleep in a bedroom with up to 20 other children.  The room is filled with rows of beds and contains no other furniture.  Each child has his or her own bed, but they do not have any special blanket, toy, or stuffed animal that they take to bed with them.

At bedtime, the children climb into bed and a worker turns off the light.  No one tucks them in or hugs them good night.  When the boys and girls have nightmares, no one comes into their room to console them. Many orphaned children are afraid of night time.

Closets and Clothing
Children who are 5 and older may have a small closet of their own in a special room.  Most children have only one or two sets of clothes - possibly dresses for the girls, and pants and shirts for the boys.  The children will wear the same clothes for many days at a time.  Orphans may have a special outfit to wear for a holiday program, but that is stored elsewhere.

Many orphans own one pair of "street shoes" and another pair to wear indoors.  They wear the shoes until the soles are coming off.  If children receive a new pair of shoes, their name is written on both the shoes and the shoebox with a permanent marker.  This is to keep workers or other children from stealing them.

Mealtime can be a stressful experience for orphaned children.  While still in the hospital, abandoned newborns eat from bottles propped up on towels in their cribs.  Babies are not held and snuggled during their feedings.  At the orphanage, mealtime is often rushed.  With only 2 workers and 30 hungry babies, adults must feed many children at the same time.  Workers shovel food into toddlers' mouths, hardly giving the children time to chew.  
Older orphaned children eat together at tables with up to 10 children.  they do not have a variety of foods at their meals or a choice about what they eat.  Breakfast usually consists of porridge.  Soup and bread are served for both lunch and dinner.  Because they are hungry, some children steal food from the table and then hide it to eat between meals.  Boys and girls hurry to eat their meal so that the other children won't steal food off of their plates.

Bathrooms and Hygiene
Bath time can be very traumatic for orphaned children.  Instead of taking baths, children generally take very quick showers.  The younger children are put into a bathtub or shower with other children.  As they stand up, workers quickly wash them and spray them off with a hose.  In some orphanages, the water can be very cold.  Most children cry during bath time.
Older children take showers 2 times a week, at most.  They have a central place where their toothbrush and towel is stored.  Many bathrooms for older children do not have indoor plumbing.  Children go to an outhouse to use the restroom.

Most orphanages cannot afford to buy quality playground equipment for their children.  Playground equipment is very simple.  There may be a swing, a slide, and a sand box.
Toys in the orphanage are kept neatly on shelves and only taken out at certain times of the day.  Getting many children to share a few toys can become a problem, so workers feel it is easier to leave the toys on the shelf.

Children learn music, drama, and poetry in an organized class time during the week.  Their rooms do not have televisions or radios.

The Christian Alliance for Orphans
The Cry of the Orphan

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