Lumos! Lumos Maxima! Lumos Solem!
Lumos is a wondrous and magical nonprofit focusing on the international aid and deinstitutionalization of children.
Co-founded by queen of childhood wonder herself, Rowling, Lumos focuses on the eight million children worldwide that are institutionalized or orphaned. It hopes to help these children by helping the development of community structures and familial substitutes for these children.
What is the institutionalization of children?
Children whose families are often times too poor or disadvantaged to take care of their children place them within institutions or "orphanages". These institutions can oftentimes be overcrowded, under-nourishing, and otherwise for the children involved.
Statistically it has been found that these institutions are detrimental to the mental, emotional, and physical health of the children within. Research in child psychology has arrived on the theory that children need emotional support and loving interactions in order to truly thrive (logical right?).
The institutionalization of these children is also statistically damaging to the children's futures and prospects. In a statistic cited on the Lumos website, the institutionalization of children makes these children in the future " 10 times more likely to be involved in prostitution than their peers, 40 times more likely to have a criminal and 500 times more likely to take their own lives" (link here!).
Accio Mission and Vision
The direct goal or mission of Lumos is to end childhood institutionalization by 2050.
The vision is essentially this: a world where children can grow to their full potential in safety and care of a familial and nurturing setting.
How does it plan to do that? Via the deinstitutionalization of children and the promotion of inclusive education. Lumos defines inclusive education as supporting these children via integration into mainstream communities, families, and schools.
Expecto Patronum: The Successes
The advocacy of Lumos and its partner organizations have forced many nations in the European Union to create de-institutionalization agreements (with a focus on funding regulations).
Thanks directly to the influence and work of Lumos in Moldova, Moldova's institutions have been on the decrease. In fact as of 2014, there are no child institutions in the counties of Floresti and Laloveni with Lumos making significant headway in Chisinau and Orhei. Moreover, Lumos's work in Moldova has been focusing on redirecting the purpose of institutionalization to inclusive education. The projects in Moldova are hoping to join forces with the World Bank and the Global Alliance for Children and the United States, creating a 5 year timeline to completely eliminating institutionalization in the nation.
Lumos also has work in the Czech Republic, despite a seemingly constant lack of will for change. Despite this, the quantity of institutions has significantly decreased.
Lumos has with the help of Unicef in Bulgaria reduced institutionalization by more than 50%.
Lumos has also done significant work in Ukraine and has started work in Haiti as of the beginning of 2015 (their first nation outside of greater Europe).
The nonprofit is also strengthening ties with the US government and US humanitarian agencies in hopes of creating international growth plans for de-institutionalization.