Operators of orphanage homes under the umbrella of the Coalition of Orphanages and Children Homes in Nigeria (COCHIN), have demanded a change in nomenclature replacing the “orphanages” with Care Homes, Children Homes or some other better nomenclatures.

The Coalition said they have observed that the nomenclature “orphans or orphanages” is demeaning and affecting the psyche and self esteem of the children from such homes.

COCHIN President, Senator Eze Ajoku, told journalists at a press conference in Abuja, on Thursday, that there was urgent need to redefine orphanages as children homes stressing that the concept of an orphanage child is humiliating.

He said: “The name creates psychological trauma, torture and stress on the children. My children in private secondary schools feel terrible when their mates call them orphanage children. This compelled us to remove the name “orphanage” on the bus that takes them to school and also change our signage posts to Care Home. This story is same for all other homes.

“On this celebration day for children, we call on all well-meaning Nigerians to desist from calling children in orphanages ‘orphans’, but rather see them as children in care homes. Orphanages should be called Children Homes or Care Homes, Privilege homes or even Blessed homes.”

He requested that the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) grant automatic change of names to all NGOs registered as Orphanages to Homes of their choice without the rigour of Change of Name procedures. “This will be a huge contribution by CAC to the wellbeing of orphans in the so called orphanages.”

Secretary of COCHIN, Sarah John, in her submissions, raised concerns that the number of orphans in Nigeria are growing by the day through the activities of groups such as; as Boko Haram, Bandits and Kidnappers; HIV/AIDS and many other health issues, insisting that government must recognize the need for it to plan for its growing population of orphans.

“To say and do nothing about this category of Nigerians is to plan for more banditry, Kidnapping and other social vices to be committed by Children and adults without homes and hopes. Partnering with COCHIN should be a matter of necessity for the government.

“Government should see the need to set up more orphanages or children homes in every state of the country. So far, orphanage homes are known to provide better care of our vulnerable children.

“Government’s lack of interest in orphanages has been manifested in various forms. For example, in the Federal Capital Territory where COCHIN member predominates, no subvention has been given to any private orphanage owner as support.”

She confirmed that the Coalition is working with relevant authorities particularly the FCT Administration through the Social Development Secretariat (SDS) to streamline the adoption processes and make it easier for people who are interested in adoption.

She said: “We had requested that one of us be made a member of the adoption committee of the SDS but that has not been done. We have over 40 orphanages under COCHIN taking care of over N500 orphans in different care homes.”

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