Footsteps 101 - Caring for orphans

Includes case studies, children’s activities and a moving interview about growing up in a children’s home.

Editor's note

Zoe Burden

‘God sets the lonely in families’ (Psalm 68:6). This moving verse echoes throughout this edition of Footsteps. All through the Bible we see God’s special concern for the orphan, the widow and the foreigner – those who may well be alone and vulnerable. He longs for them to know the love and protection of a family. This message is as relevant as ever in today’s society. 

Research shows that the best place to raise children is in a caring and nurturing family environment. This edition features many inspiring individuals, organisations and churches who are working to provide loving families for orphaned and vulnerable children. In Zimbabwe, ZOE is helping churches support orphans in their communities (page 6). In Uganda, CRANE is providing careful support to reunite children with their families (page 17). M’lup Russey is transforming orphan care in Cambodia, as well as helping orphans make a good transition when they leave institutions (pages 10–11). In China, Care for Children is inspiring families to offer foster homes to children in need, including many with disabilities (page 24).

We hope this issue of Footsteps will inspire and encourage individuals and organisations caring for orphans. To reach more people, Footsteps 101 is now also available in Swahili (PDF 1.4 MB)

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Footsteps articles

Bible study: Does God hate Christmas?

Krish Kandiah helps us think about the kind of worship that God wants from his people.

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News, letters and a ‘knotty problem’.

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Family first: How best to tackle the orphan challenge

How can we work towards a world where every child has the chance to grow up within a loving family?

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Getting ready to face the world

The M’lup Russey Organisation is transforming the way vulnerable children and young people are cared for in Cambodia.

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Helping orphan families thrive in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is home to an estimated 720,000 orphans. ZOE (Zimbabwe Orphans through Extended Hands) believes local churches have a vital role to play.

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Interview: My childhood in a children’s home

Peter Kamau Muthui and his five siblings grew up in residential care in Kenya. In this moving interview, he shares the impact this had on his life.

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Making families stronger

Family strengthening is about keeping children in their families and preventing them from being placed in residential care. Here are some things your church or community group can do (PDF).

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No child left behind

Children with disabilities are among the most at risk of being placed in orphanages. Care for Children is changing this reality for disabled children in China, with incredible results.

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A selection of books, websites and training material about caring for orphans.

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Reuniting children with their families

Reintegration means helping children move back into families and communities. Children and families both need careful support before they can be reunited.

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Standing up for the rights of orphans: Lessons from Central Asia

Two inspiring organisations in Central Asia are advocating for the rights of orphans at local and national level.

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The orphanage that turned inside out

The message is spreading that long-term residential care is not in the best interests of orphans and vulnerable children. As a result, many orphanages around the world are transforming into centres providing family and community strengthening services.

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Using art as therapy for orphans and vulnerable children

These activities can help orphans and vulnerable children to express their emotions, grow in self-esteem and work through difficult memories.

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When ‘fostering’ is a new word

Casa Viva is the only organisation actively implementing foster care in Costa Rica. Working through the local church, they encourage families to offer a home to children in need.

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Words used in this edition

Explanations of some of the words and phrases used in this edition.

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