There’s been a lot of discussion about this lately in the orphan care arena, with many people recommending to close them all down. “Reunification with family” is the answer, they say. Many orphanages are into business and make money out of it in the name of charity. Most people would define the word orphanage as a public or private institution for the care and protection of the children without parents. However, this definition is far from what orphanages actually are. Many orphanage leaders are dishonest or untrustworthy. These are the headlines that make the news.

Apart from helping the kids in getting a better home, \’Saba Homes\’ has been playing an important role in building network on a global scale. But as part of the team that is running Saba Homes, a large Pakistani orphanage, I would like to suggest an alternate narrative. Because “Shut ‘em all down!” may sound good, but in my experience it misses the point in a few real world ways.

Throughout the world (and I’ve seen this with my own eyes, my own heart), there are committed people filling desperate gaps in a broken system with boundless love and tireless energy. These people are the real heroes not villains. They are providing hope in hopeless stories, shining a light in the darkness, sacrificing everything so that a few children can shine. They are part of the solution, not the problem.

And I know that I and everyone at Saba Homes are also part of that solution, too.

Sure, orphanage care is not as perfect as the “nuclear family” ideal we’d all hope for—but this ideal is a fantasy for many. The world is crowded, right now, with abused, vulnerable, orphaned, abandoned, unloved, unwanted children who need an answer today. They do not need our debate or our indignation. They need love and care and a place to belong. They need hope, and that is what we can offer.

The Trust sits in the heart of the city and has been operating since 2006. The foundation was laid by our Chairman Saghir Ahmed Aslam. There are currently a large number of children in our care, ages four to eighteen, and they come from a variety of different backgrounds. Are we perfect? Of course not. But we try with all of our hearts and all of our capacity to love to give these children a childhood worth remembering and a future full of potential.

Caring for the world’s vulnerable children is a complicated challenge. Yes, families should be kept together whenever possible. But all families, like all orphanages, are not the loving stable homes we might wish them to be. In our work to ensure that all children thrive, we need all options on the table. Reunification when healthy and possible, adoption, foster care and yes, even group care when led with love and dedication.

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