Rowling campaigns for Europe's 1m institutionalised children

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Today is International Children's Day. Although it doesn't have a particularly high profile in Britain, it is celebrated widely across Central and Eastern Europe, Central Asia and South America and markes the anniversary of the world conference or the Well-being of Children held in Geneva in 1925.

This day is also used to mark the 'birthdays' of children growing up in residential institutions and orphanages in Central in Eastern Europe. Many of these children don't know their actual birthdays and don't get to celebrate them if they do.

Lumos, the children’s charity founded by JK Rowling, recently visited such institutions in Moldova in order to highlight the plight of the one million children estimated to be living in such circumstances.

JK Rowling commented, "The most shocking thing is that early emotional neglect leads to a measureable lack of brain development in humans. It can never be fully repaired, although removal from an institution and proper rehabilitation in a loving environment can work wonders."

"I'm comforted by the fact we are slowly helping governments transform education, health and social care systems for children for the better, but I never lose a sense of urgency when I think of the bleakness of some of these children’s lives.”

The charity's chief executive Georgette Mulheir said: “Almost completely off the radar, one million children across Central and Eastern are suffering various forms of abuse and deprivation, often in spite of the good intentions of those who initially established the institutions."

Many of the young people confined to institutions have been wrongly labelled disabled and are therefore unable, under limited government legislation, to be considered for fostering with families.

Lumos’ campaign, Light a Birthday Candle for Lumos, which launches today aims to raise awareness of the plight of children in institutions, and is encouraging people to raise money by lighting a birthday candle online for institutionalised children.

Money raised will help Lumos move more children out of institutions into loving family environments. For more information visit

Click here to view a picture essay about the conditions institutionalised children are currently living in

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A luxury beauty house with a nu...

Recruitment Genius: Housekeepers - Immediate Start

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This company are currently recruiting new exp...

Recruitment Genius: Head Concierge

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

Recruitment Genius: Content, SEO and PPC Executive

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral