It hit us like a ton of bricks.
The oldest girl of our sibling group is extremely academic. She attends the local public school and is at the top of her class with excellent grades. She is blessed to be in an excellent orphanage ~ the director calls it “the children’s home” which we love ~ which offers her a supportive environment and many opportunities.
When we stated aloud how hard she works and what an advantage she has being in this home, our facilitator replied matter of factly, “the future is all the same.”
Do you mean her future is the same as the girls we met in other orphanages who will graduate with the equivalent of a US third grade education? Those who have run wild and never applied themselves? She will have no better opportunities for a job or life?
“No. She doesn’t.”
Unbelievable. It has been a week and we still can’t get our arms around it. But it is true. There are no jobs for these children after they age out of the orphanage. They will be sent to trade school but with no family support and little monetary support from the government they don’t last long.
We wish you could meet these sweet older children. Like the rest of us, some are sweeter than others. 🙂 We marvel at how resilient they are to have experienced and seen what they have…to have been rejected, often many times over…yet they are precious sweet kids many of whom desire a family more than anything else in the world.
Their future is all the same…bleak and likely very short. The average life expectancy of a child who ages out of the orphanage is 21. Many die of suicide. Most of the boys end up in crime and eventually prison. Most of the girls will join the endless line of prostitutes. It is their only chance to make money enough to eat.
Coming from a country where hard work and academic excellence are associated with a higher level of opportunity and prosperity, we are overwhelmed by the dire hopelessness these orphans face in spite of their outward appearance of happiness. We remind ourselves everyday to look beyond the smiles into the pain of their hearts.
They know that the future is all the same…