Who is under fire.
First Love International Ministries—a U.S. based charity with children’s homes in Kenya, Ukraine, India, and Nepal—is the target of a class-action lawsuit for violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, filed January 2021.
What is the complaint?
The not-for-profit organization allegedly engaged in deceptive marketing and misinformation to profiteer from American donors and voluntourists to build and expand its children’s homes in Kenya, violating domestic regulations and international norms.
The international community univocally supports the deinstitutionalization of alternative child care and promotes the reunification of families. In contrast, according to the lawsuit, First Love “[keeps] the children at their homes for years without promoting or ensuring family reunification. They then use the children’s likenesses and presence to increase donations from churches and donors.”
That doesn’t sound good.
It gets worse. The Class members assert that First Love engaged in several practices condemned as “orphan trafficking.” Specifically cited are: targeting and recruiting children from poor families, travelling to receive children from villages hundreds of miles away, and being in custody of children with missing or expired committal orders.
What can we learn from this?
If the allegations prove to be true, the charity could be condemned not only for defrauding donors and volunteers, but forsaking the best interest of children for economic gain. The case highlights the profit incentive implicit in a system of private institutions. Greater protections from this type of exploitation are essential and may be created with alternative orphan care solutions.
Read the overview and case files at FeaganScott Law Firm.
A good fight.
Yasmina El Habbal and Rasha Mekky are two Egyptian women fighting the cultural stigma of adoption in their ethnic community.
What’s wrong with adoption?
Some Muslims would say, nothing…provided adherence to a set of moral and legal guidelines which differentiate between a child by lineage and one by sponsorship. While “adoption” in the Western sense of the word is prohibited in the Quran, the alternative care system by which an adult may sponsor an orphan in Islam is referred to as kafala.
In kafala, a child is brought into the care of a family which provides for their education, financial needs, and upbringing.
But other Egyptian Muslims would say…
It’s taboo and you should pray for a biological child. Rasha argues that this is a cultural misconception and it’s keeping children in institutionalized care instead of bringing them into the warmth of a family environment.
Women like Rasha and Yasmina are building online communities where they encourage more Egyptian families to take orphans into their homes and fight the stigma which keeps kids in institutional homes.
Read the story from the AP
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