I recently came across a relatively hidden story.
In 1911, a Polish man named Janusz Korczak founded and directed the Dom Sierot, a unique orphanage for Jewish children in Warsaw. Janusz designed the home to function as its own type of “society,” empowering the children into roles of leadership and “government.” They even had their own newspaper! He, himself, ran a radio broadcast where he avidly fought for children’s rights to anyone that would listen.
Then, on August 5, 1945, Nazi soldiers approached the Polish man in the midst of World War II and offered to protect him and not kill him, but on one condition—he had to leave the 192 Jewish children in his orphanage behind.
Over the years, I have had the absolute privilege to meet and talk to orphanage directors and caregivers from many different countries. To the world, most of your triumphs, your struggles, your sacrifices and stories have gone by relatively hidden. And yet, each of you has inspired me for the absolute love you have for the children in your care.
For those of you who are directors or caregivers of an orphanage, you already know how Janusz responded that fateful day in 1945.
And it is for you that we have created The Oak Life Journal.
This publication is designed to facilitate the ideas, experiences, joys, news stories and helpful advice of our collective journey. Here, directors and caregivers from around the world will have a voice. Those who have gone before, have painstakingly earned the wisdom necessary to build an orphanage, administrate a team, work within their governments, fundraise, and nurture their community’s abandoned children. Now, the orphan care community has a place to broadcast that wisdom. In doing so, we can help one another today, and clear the way for those who will come into orphan care tomorrow.
In this, its first edition, we begin with a few simple articles that will hopefully give you inspiration and wisdom, whether you are a director or a caregiver. Our incredible writers have invested themselves, body and soul, like you, into the lives of abandoned children. And as more of us share our experiences, our combined ability to administrate facilities with efficiency and care for our children with success will grow.
Our long-term intention is to stand by your side and lift up your arms. We recognize your incredible story, whether you began decades ago, or are just beginning. And we want to empower one another with these stories, earned wisdom and learned information.
To your dedication and love for your children, we dedicate this publication.
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