2013 was a year of significant achievement by Lumos on multiple levels, reflecting the scope and expertise ofour team of dedicated professionals.
We reached the encouraging point where the child population of institutions in Eastern European nations inwhich we work has reduced by nearly 40% over the last five years; the figure in Moldova is a remarkable 62%.This means institutions are closing and many thousands of children are returning to their families, homes andcommunities.
Our teams, harnessing professional expertise, intervened to help save the lives of scores of children who were atrisk of death from malnutrition in institutions. Supported by Lumos, young people with intellectual disabilitiespresented their demands for change in their lives at international conferences. In Moldova, 40% of schoolsnow have staff dedicated to the special educational needs of children who might previously have been ininstitutions – thanks to Lumos’ influence. These are but a few of 2013’s achievements, as we have demonstratedrobust, workable models that have been replicated in a number of countries.
Deinstitutionalisation (DI) – the technical name for a life-enhancing process that transforms children’s lives – isnot just about closing buildings. It is about the reform of entire care systems, to ensure they are able to meetthe needs of ALL children, and which ensure the families crucially can stay together. This needs funding andpolitical will which is why our work at the international level is so crucial to realising our vision of a world freefrom harmful institutions for children
In 2013 we saw the results of four years of collaborative diplomacy and advocacy to ensure that EuropeanUnion funding for Member States must be used to build family and community-based care. We have alreadyinfluenced the use of more than €350 million and there is huge potential to influence the use of humanitarianaid to end institutionalisation worldwide.
This year also saw significant growth for Lumos as an organisation. We have hard-working teams in Bulgaria,Moldova and Czech Republic and we look forward to a time when we can build on our initial work in Ukraine.At the same time, we are preparing to take our mission onto the global stage. Our operations in the UK havebeen enhanced to provide support for our international teams.
We have always aimed to be a reliable ‘critical friend’ to nations seeking to close institutions – an authoritative,expert guide through a complex process. Our 2013 achievements show just how expert and influential Lumoshas become. There is still much to be done to transform the lives of eight million children in institutionsworldwide – including raising awareness and challenging the misconception around the world thatorphanages are ‘necessary’ and ‘good’ for children in adversity, which they are not.
The evidence from 2013 fills me with confidence that Lumos – with the invaluable, continuing support of ourpartners and donors – will meet those challenges admirably.
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