Today we talk about The truth behind the orphanages, a book by Irene Wangeci published with our publishing house Europe Books.
Europe Books had the pleasure of interviewing the author, Irene Wangeci, to get to know her better, where she found the inspiration that led her to the writing of her book The truth behind the orphanages, as well as the sensations she felt by ‘reading’ her life on the pages of her book.
Below you can find our interview. Take a seat and enjoy your reading!!!
- Where and when did you find the inspiration to write your autobiographical book?
It began about a year or two ago when I felt the need to seek answers to my peculiarity. I was always on guard, I was uncomfortable if one tried to get close to me, I did not trust anyone, and I could not answer the question who I was nor where I came from. I felt alone and vulnerable. In the quest to answer my questions, I wanted to know the effects of growing up in an orphanage. This is what was different about me. After several days of curiosity, I ended up at Better Care Network & Hope and homes for children’s websites. Their resources and several YouTube videos confirmed my fears. Indeed, the world acknowledged orphanages did more harm than good to children. What broke my heart was to learn the evidence was no secret as there were volumes of documents by scholars and even acknowledgement by the United Nations. With my lived experience and this knowledge, I found the courage to speak with the intention of changing the narrative of the children in orphanages and those at risk. I envisioned a world free of orphanages & that’s how this book was born.
- What is the message you want to convey to your readers?
The message I wish to convey is; the orphanage system of care has left many broken family ties that may never be mended, denied children the experience and knowledge of their cultures which may never be learned, limited the children’s opportunities some of which may never be recovered, denied the children a sense of belonging which may never be regained, some have been robbed off their livelihoods which may never be gotten back as mental illness has taken over, some have been left maimed for life which may now be beyond recourse for the damage is already done and traumas that the children may not be aware of. My message hence is simple, we do not need more nor better orphanages. We do not need to institutionalise vulnerable and poor children so as to help them. What we need is a child care system that supports family-based care alternatives. A system that supports and strengthens families to make it possible for children to grow with their families and communities where they belong. A child’s right to grow in a family is inherent and an institution is not able to play the role of a family.
- What significant life experiences find expression in your book?
The significant life experiences that found their way into my book are those that have had a great impact in my past and present life. I guess that is why it was easy to remember them. They for sure have played a significant role in shaping my life. These experiences may portray the scars of orphan hood but they are also the beauty spots that helped me see the peculiarity in my being. Sharing my experiences is not because my life is unique, it is because lived experiences help us understand the magnitude of a social phenomenon like the orphanage system of care. I choose to be vulnerable, to help the reader see some of the risks vulnerable and poor children in orphanages are predisposed to. These forms part of the unspoken detriments that I would not wish any child to experience now and in future. If by sharing my story I save one child, I am happy for every child’s life matters. It is the small things that lead to great changes, we only need to begin by doing what is within our power or ability.
- What sensations did you feel by ‘reading’ your life on the pages of your book?
The satisfaction was overwhelming! Through my fragmented story I took the reader back into my past life that had left me vulnerable and alone. What is beautiful is that I have now grown beyond this past and am here advocating for millions of vulnerable children whose voices the world may never hear. It is them that motivated me to speak for I can imagine their desire. It is what I longed for. Once we understand that over 80% of the children in orphanages have a parent, an extended family member or even a person or family within the community who, if enabled, would have been happy to take care of them; we would hence comprehend the unspoken longing in their hearts. I will admit, some experiences were too sensitive to recall as they reminded me of a past that I wanted to forget. These brought about emotional sensations for I acknowledge my human nature.
- Are you working on a new writing project, you can tell us about?
Oh yes! My next book is underway and two words are significant, scars and vulnerability. As I have continued to reflect on my life, I see the impacts of orphan hood and the lessons I have drawn from them. This is the title lingering in my mind at the moment and am sure clarity will build up as I continue to jot it down. In the end, it will be a book to inspire and give hope for no situation is permanent. Samuel Pisar said, we may not live in the past, but the past lives in us.
Europe Books thanks the author, Irene Wangeci, once again for taking the time and answering our questions. We are really pleased to have walked alongside her on the editorial path that led to the publication of her book The truth behind the orphanages. We wish her the best of luck for her future works.
To you, my readers, I hope this book provides you with food for thought on the importance of a childcare system that provides family-based care alternatives and that allows the child to grow up in a way that is healthy and not one of abandonment or denial of one’s origin and culture.
So, my dear reader, all I have to say is to enjoy this very interesting reading!