The world's most popular YouTuber, MrBeast (131M subscribers), has raised $41,000 so far with a video asking his followers help him rebuild South African orphanages.
The video (‘We Saved an Orphanage’) has hit nearly 5 million views in just a fortnight.
And although MrBeast’s mission to make the world a better place is admirable, rebuilding orphanages can expose children to abuse, neglect and violence.
Lumos shares MrBeast’s passion and ambition to help vulnerable children, and we’re delighted that he’s using his platform to encourage his followers to make the world a better place for young people. However, decades of scientific research shows that children need to grow up in a safe and loving environment, surrounded by family to help them thrive. This is not something they can find in an orphanage, no how well-meaning the intentions of those who run it.
80% of children in orphanages around the world have a living parent who loves and wants to care for them – but sadly they lack the support and resources to do so. The main reasons children are in orphanages is not a lack of living relatives – instead the leading drivers of family separation are poverty, discrimination and war. Sadly, in orphanages children are at huge risk of neglect and abuse, and many orphanages exploit vulnerable families to turn a profit. Even orphanages that are set up with the best of intentions have a detrimental impact on a child’s physical, emotional and cognitive development. Children who grow up in an orphanage are more likely to have difficulty forming emotional attachments, get into trouble with the law, and they’re more likely to be at risk of mental health issues.
The good news is that with the right support, these vulnerable children can be looked after where they belong – at home, with their families and in their communities. At Lumos, with our partners Hope and Homes for Children, we’re fighting for every child’s right to a family; reuniting children with their families where possible and finding alternative family-based care (such as foster care) when it is not. We shine a light on the root causes of family separation and work with government and partners to make a better, safer world for children a reality.
Orphanages don’t need support. Families do.
We hope that MrBeast and his followers embrace our mission so we can all work together for a future where every child is raised in a safe, loving family home.