Across the world, children in orphanages face an egregiously abusive cycle in which they are held hostage, vanish between institutions, or are preyed upon by sex traffickers and drug dealers.

These conditions are endemic to orphanages across the globe, and are primarily made possible by the fact that these children typically lack a basic human right: documented proof of their existence, whether through a birth certificate or other identification. Without the necessary documents to prove their identity, these children are trapped forever, unable to reunite with their families. Addressing this fundamental problem in accessing a proof of identity is critical in combatting the abuse of vulnerable children around the world.

How does WIN Foundation and its partners help children in need? Watch this video to see how you can get involved:

An estimated eight million children today reside in orphanages – yet more than 80% of these children have at least one living parent. Separated and unable to reconnect with their families, these kids are doomed to a brutal life, constantly uprooted and taken advantage of. In addition to the plague of trafficking, sexual abuse, and slavery these orphans face, they are also 500 times more likely to take their own lives. Several governments have passed deinstitutionalization laws against orphanages, but they continue to flourish as children are increasingly displaced by crises like the civil war in Syria, or the Indian government’s removal of ethnic minorities from its national ID registry. The resulting rise of statelessness means there is no longer a sense of belonging for children who are displaced, and “children in cages” at the border become children victimized in orphanages.

Working with local authorities, organizations like Hope and Homes for Children have managed to close many abusive orphanages worldwide. But millions of children are still waiting to be reunited with a loving family. Many of them risk being taken out of the country by human traffickers, often ending up in modern slavery or the human organ trade. The WIN Foundation is proud to partner with Hope and Homes for Children, becoming part of a successful drive to save orphans in Moldova from an inhumane fate.

Orphans sitting together with lolipops
Hope and Homes for Children helps families around the world find their place and lifts them to success

WIN Foundation works with a local satellite of Hope and Homes for Children, CCF Moldova, to get children out of the orphanage system. We help provide them with personal ID papers, trace their family lineage, and reunite them with family members. We purchase comfortable homes for the families and cover costs for their most basic needs. Furthermore, with our support, the government of Moldova passed a law requiring every minor to possess a proof of personal ID, if they intend to leave the country. Using blockchain on top of existing systems will flag and record every unlawful attempt to exit, helping to ensure that no child is taken out of the country using fake ID documents produced by human traffickers.

Orphans on the porch at their new homeWe are proud of our work with Hope and Homes for Children, and believe this systematic approach allows individuals to take control of their own fate. Recently, acclaimed author J.K. Rowling spoke at the One Young World Summit about the dangers of “orphanage tourism,” insisting that our collective focus should instead be on the circumstances that drive these children to such terrible institutions. In Rowling’s fantastical writings, magic empowers individuals and works to bring justice and happiness to the downtrodden. We believe our work with Hope and Homes for Childen resembles magic in this regard; everyone deserves access to proof of their identity, and blockchain technology offers limitless possibilities to do it correctly – finally holding access to their own identity, vulnerable children in orphanages can realize their full potential for success. We should harness the capabilities of blockchain to elevate humanity à la Wingardium Leviosa.