Georgette Mulheir is a pioneer for the movement to end child abuse in the form of orphanages.
We know that the early years of a person's life are critical for social and cognitive development, and that the adults present during that time have a strong influence on this growth -- so why is it so common for society to separate child and parent? Why are 1 million children across Europe and Central Asia living in large orphanages, which are harmful to their health and psyches? Georgette Mulheir wants to put an end to this practice. She works tirelessly as the CEO of Lumos, an NGO founded by JK Rowling dedicated to ending worldwide systematic institutionalization. For the past 20 years Mulheir has worked primarily in Central and Eastern Europe to shift resources away from orphanages and toward alternate family services, such as foster care and day support. Since she started working in Romania in 1993, the landscape there has improved dramatically -- from 200,000 children in orphanages to 20,000.
“The systematic institutionalization of children … is the one form of child abuse that we could eradicate in our lifetime.”
“More than 95 percent of these children [in orphanages] have living parents. … The primary drivers behind institutionalization are poverty, disability and ethnicity.”