Flourish & Thrive’s current project is designed to meet the advanced educational needs of aging-out orphans. These are orphans who have come of age and must leave their orphanages due to government regulations or institutional space issues. This transition is often shocking, depressing and very dangerous! Their ability to thrive is obstructed by:
- insufficient resources for basic living and healthcare
- lack of skills to manage daily realities of work and adult life
- an undeveloped network of friends & adults to act as a safety net
- negligible employment opportunity
Unfortunately, that list goes on and on. And, without support systems, they become easy targets for organized crime and human traffickers. These societal deprivations and predators rapidly invade their lives and make a mess of them. In some countries as many as 50% of aging-out orphans commit suicide in the first 3 years after they leave their orphanage.
We have witnessed this exploitation firsthand and asked ourselves a tough question: “What are we ‘saving’ these children for and to?” One CEO of an orphan care ministry put it this way, “If we are feeding, clothing, and giving them a Christian education as children so they can become prostitutes and gang members when they leave our care – we have failed them!” Compact Colleges for Orphans is our answer.
Through our Compact Colleges for Orphans project we seek to help aging-out orphans bridge the chasm between their orphanage experience and entry into the broad world of adult life. We want to provide tools to give them hope for a vibrant future. The educational design is a dynamic blend of:
- Baccalaureate level academics in entrepreneurial business
- Vocational training in agriculture & aquaculture (fish farming)
- Research to extend the knowledge of sustainability practices for local context
- Life skills training
- Community enrichment internships
- Christian discipleship and leadership development