What is your film about?
“LOST KITES” follows a young film team seeking answers to the global orphan crisis, and end up meeting three kids who change their lives. Caught in street life, orphanage care, and abandonment, these three must face mountainous challenges. But the team finds hope in a powerful family-based model that will forever change the way we view orphan care.
Is LOST KITES depressing?

From the start, the word we've used to describe our film is "celebration." LOST KITES engages the courage, humor, trial and honesty of the three main kids in a way that breaks off the stigma of "orphan" and returns us to simply, "children." And it's hopeful. This is a SOLUTION based film. Our experts reveal the latest strategies to see every child safely restored to family. It will leave you ready to jump in and join the movement!

How did this project get started?
We are a team of six filmmakers who set out on a journey to find solutions to the global orphan crisis. After two documentary projects and overseas volunteer service in Argentina, Panama, Rwanda, Uganda, India and Nepal with media advocacy non-profit, A Voice for the Voiceless, our team gathered in 2013 to plan and begin a two-year journey to 22 nations. A crowd-funding campaign coupled with our personal contributions allowed the completion of the filming and post-production.
Is this a Christian film?

Jesus Christ called and enabled our team to create this film, and we believe it reflects the heart of the Father, but you will not find "Christian-ese" in LOST KITES. Our film is a safe place to engage everyone in the movement to restore children to family.

What is your goal for LOST KITES?
We aim to see vulnerable families strengthened, and children restored to family, globally.
What’s the action you want people to take?
Our documentary, “LOST KITES,” promotes three major action steps:
  1. Safely/gradually transfer global funding from orphanages to family-based care
  2. Increase the number of workers to prevent separation and restore children to families
  3. Encourage foster care and adoption when necessary
What is your stance on orphanages?
We are against placing children in orphanages when the majority have a living parent, or for a lower cost could be placed in safer family based care (next of kin, foster, local adoption). Statistics show that societal issues ie poverty, disabilities, and education are the main drivers of this separation, and this can be remedied with proper re-distribution of funding and resources. We believe that orphanages should be a last resort, and a temporary solution. Extensive research shows that a child’s emotional, physical, intellectual and relational development is best in a family setting, and global case studies reveal that the restoration of children to families is entirely within our reach.
The Russian study cited in your film on outcomes from growing up in orphanages- does that carry across globally?
Here is the stat this Q is referring to, along with the source-
Statistics from a study in Russia showed outcomes for young adults leaving the institutional care system:
  • 1 in 3 became homeless
  • 1 in 5 committed crimes
  • 1 in 7 became a prostitute
  • 1 in 10 committed suicide

Pashkina, N. (2001). Sotsial’noe obespechenie, 11: 42-45.As cited in: Fedulova, A.B. & Firsov, M.V. (2003). Orphans in Russia. Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research, p83. http://www.nibr.no/filer/2003-1.pdf [accessed 25 August 2015].

The study is presented as a national study, but it reflects the trends our team witnessed in varying degrees across the world (22 countries and 75+ interviews). We listened to story after story of good kids being overwhelmed by their vulnerability and inability to adjust to life outside the orphanage walls, whether it was financially, relationally, emotionally, and even spiritually. Sarah Chhin, Mick Pease, and Georgette Mulheir (orphan care experts working in different regions of the world) reflected these outcomes in their interviews as they have lived and worked with teens leaving institutions. UNICEF also reflects these outcomes here: http://www.unicef.org/myanmar/CP_and_Orphanages_-__English_.pdf
UNICEF lists the “Impact of Institutional Care of Children”:
  • Developmental delays – neurological, physical, emotional
  • Lack of exposure to family and community
  • Higher risk of violence and exploitation
  • Poor adjustment to adulthood
  • Damaged family connections
  • Homelessness
  • Detachment of life in community
  • Stigma
  • Higher suicide rate
What are the sources for the stats quoted in your film?

Number of children are living in orphanages, globally

  • There are an estimated 2-8+ million children are living in institutions

    • though, given gaps in global statistics and indications that there are many unregistered children’s homes, the true figure may well be much higher.

      • https://www.savethechildren.org.uk/sites/default/files/docs/A_last_resort_1.pdf
      • http://wearelumos.org/sites/default/files/Lumos%20The%20Time%20is%20Now%20April2014%20FINAL_updated_0.pdf
      • https://cafo.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Christian-Alliance-for-Orphans-_On-Understanding-Orphan-Statistics_.pdf (footnote V)
      • http://www.unicef.org/violencestudy/5.%20World%20Report%20on%20Violence%20against%20Children.pdf

Of the children living in orphanages, the percentage that have a living parent

  • Globally, and on average, over 80% of children in orphanages have a living parent

    • http://wearelumos.org/sites/default/files/1.Global%20Numbers_2_0.pdf
    • Ibid. Csáky, 2009, p vii.
    • http://handstohearts.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Global-Fact-Sheet-on-Orphanages_BetterCareNetwork.pdf

Poverty: Leading cause for children being separated from their parents

  • After poverty, other causes include education, disability, discrimination, trafficking, and child abuse

    • http://faithtoaction.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Faith2Action_ResearchGuide_V9_WEB.pdf
    • http://handstohearts.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Global-Fact-Sheet-on-Orphanages_BetterCareNetwork.pdf
    • http://www.unicef.org/myanmar/CP_and_Orphanages_-__English_.pdf
    • http://wearelumos.org/sites/default/files/1.Global%20Numbers_2_0.pdf
    • http://www.thinkchildsafe.org/thinkbeforevisiting/resources/Families_Not_Orphanages_J_Williamson.pdf
    • https://www.savethechildren.org.uk/sites/default/files/docs/A_last_resort_1.pdf

Outcomes of Institutional Care 

  • Statistics from a study in Russia showed outcomes for young adults leaving the institutional care system:

    • 1 in 3 became homeless

    • 1 in 5 committed crimes

    • 1 in 7 became a prostitute

    • 1 in 10 committed suicide

Pashkina, N. (2001). Sotsial'noe obespechenie, 11: 42-45.As cited in: Fedulova, A.B. & Firsov, M.V. (2003). Orphans in Russia. Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research, p83. http://www.nibr.no/ filer/2003-1.pdf [accessed 25 August 2015].

Money Saved by Choosing Family-Based Care

  • Orphanages can cost anywhere from 6-10X more than supporting children in families

    • http://www.thinkchildsafe.org/thinkbeforevisiting/resources/Families_Not_Orphanages_J_Williamson.pdf
    • http://wearelumos.org/sites/default/files/Lumos%20The%20Time%20is%20Now%20April2014%20FINAL_updated_0.pdf
    • http://handstohearts.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Global-Fact-Sheet-on-Orphanages_BetterCareNetwork.pdf

Should I support an orphanage financially?
Quoted from Kinnected :
“Before commencing support for an orphanage, or committing to ongoing support, donors should do ‘due diligence’ checks to ensure the orphanage they are supporting is abiding by relevant laws, standards and utilises ethical practices. If your due diligence checks confirm that the project you are supporting is ethical, legal, of high standard and is functioning as a last resort and temporary care facility, then it is a worthwhile project to support. If, however, due diligence checks raise concerns or problems, you should attempt to talk to the orphanage directors and encourage them to explore and implement changes in practice. If they are unwilling to embrace changes to meet standards, laws and align with the alternative care continuum, then you need to re-evaluate your support. We recommend that if you decide to stop supporting a project, you give them due notice to ensure the children are not placed at greater risk of neglect or exploitation.”
Isn’t there a lot of abuse in foster care?
There are cases of abuse in foster care, however, “violence in residential institutions is six times higher than violence in foster care… Children in group care are almost four times more likely to experience sexual abuse than children in family based care.” -UN Study on Violence Against Children. So while we should aim for reconciliation with the biological family first, next of kin second, if neither of those are attainable, foster care is generally a safer route, and meets more of the child’s needs than in a group home or orphanage.
We are currently running an orphanage and want to transition, what do I do and who can help me?
Faith to Action has great training resources, and you can contact your local government to inquire after social workers or workers trained in DI. You can also look for a family-based NGO in your country and see how you can partner with them. We always advise government approval and partnership where possible.
You can also email our screenwriter, Casey Walker for additional help: casey@lostkites.com
Our group volunteers at an orphanage every year- should we stop doing that? What SHOULD we do?
Quoted from Kinnected:
“It is critical that children form a strong attachment with a primary caregiver for their cognitive, social and emotional development. Children in orphanages have been separated from their parents and often experience attachment disorders, which cause them to develop unnaturally close bonds with people they have just met. When volunteers take the role of caregivers in an orphanage the children quickly form these bonds. Each time a volunteer leaves, this bond is broken and the child once again experiences rejection. This is extremely detrimental to children and therefore only long-term staff should assume caregiver roles for children in orphanages."
Alternatives Include:
  • Volunteer in a program that seeks to preserve families and prevent family separation. Volunteers could work with whole families or parents to strengthen their capacity to look after their own children.
  • Volunteer within family reunification programs. Help a family prepare for their child’s return by helping them renovate their house, get access to a water source or set up a small business or a veggie patch.
  • Volunteer in programs run in the community that everyone can access. Examples might be English programs, sports programs, creative workshops or educational support programs.
  • Use your skills to build the capacity of staff working with children. This might be in areas of promotions, websites, English, management, accounting or games and activities.
  • Focus on learning so that you are better equipped to advocate for a project or the needs of children when you return to your own country.
  • When done with thought and consideration, volunteering can positively contribute towards good outcomes for vulnerable children and their families as well as be a life changing experience for volunteers.”
Learn more from Kinnected, here.
What careers involve restoring children to families?
Social work, child protection, law, business management, etc.
Lumos also runs courses on deinstitutionalization (a big word for transitioning children from orphanages to family) and you can find out more here: http://wearelumos.org/media-centre/events and you can email them at info@wearelumos.org
What is the “Eloy Project?”
The “Eloy Project” is the name of our team, and includes not only our film, but other projects we have produced in the fight against children being separated from family. In Latin, “Eloy” means “chosen,” and we believe every child is chosen to belong in family. You can check out our website to learn more and to see promotional videos we have made as we traveled to support family-based care organizations. And keep checking back- there will be more to come!
What organization do you work under?
We are missionary filmmakers for Youth With A Mission, and we volunteer specifically under their media advocacy branch called, A Voice for the Voiceless.
How do you cover your expenses?
Our team has been able to carry out our work by donations made through crowd funding, as well as family, friends, and our local churches. We are currently fundraising for our tour so we can carry the message of family-based care further. Donations are tax deductible, and go toward travel, housing, equipment, and food costs. If you would like to support our team, you can donate here.