“It wasn’t till several years later that I discovered Mary Anderson’s Do No Harm principles. Anderson’s principles focus on the impact of aid on conflict, but the idea that we should all be responsible for the consequences of our actions rings true for all those working in another country. However, this requires awareness, which young or inexperienced volunteers don’t always have”.
I started my career in development, working in a small orphanage in a third world country. The orphanage was run by a national religious charity. Most of the children living there had parents, but had been removed from their parent’s care by the judicial system. These children had been abandoned several times by their parents, wider family, and the authorities. After a significant period of time attempting to provide them with some love, I did the same: I left.
Not long after I went, another young person filled my shoes. While she was there, one child was kidnapped by his parents, who wanted him to pickpocket in the market for them. This put him in danger of abuse and a potential prison sentence, if not worse. Soon after the incident, she left as well. And eventually, the charity collapsed and the children found themselves spread across a new set of…
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