It’s not just Harry Potter who wants to make the world a better place (causally defeating the Dark Lord and everything) – his creator JK Rowling does too.
Recently she’s been tweeting a lot about her charity and because we love her, we thought we’d learn some more about it.
Never forget, 80% of institutionalised children worldwide have close family who want them back. They are not orphans. #Voluntourism
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) August 21, 2016
You might not know that along with being your imaginary favourite auntie, JK also started a charity in 2004, after she read an article about the harm that orphanages can do to children around the world.
She named it Lumos, after the spell that brings that light. *sob*
Here’s the lowdown: across the world, eight million children are living in orphanages and institutions, without the love and care of a family. Most of these children have families that could look after them, but they had to give them up to orphanages because of poverty, disability and a lack of access to basic services, like education and healthcare.
One study also found that young people raised in these environments are 10 times more likely to be involved in prostitution, 40 times more likely to have a criminal record and 500 times more likely to take their own lives.
Lumos works with governments and communities to fix these outdated systems that keep families apart. Here’s an amazing video (narrated by JK herself) explaining why the charity’s mission is so important.
How can I help?
You can buy a copy of Tales of Beedle the Bard. JK gave the books rights to Lumos, so £1.61 of every sale of the Bloomsbury edition is donated straight to Lumos programmes.
Or if you already have that one on your bookshelf, try Very Good Lives, the transcript of the speech JK gave at Harvard. A whopping 90% of the proceeds are going straight to Lumos (and the other 10% is going to financial-aid at Harvard).
If you want to go one step further, you could organise a school non-uniform day, a bake sale or even a movie night. Lumos has a really helpful section on their website that explains how to go about organising an event as well as loads of other ways to get involved – and help reunite vulnerable children with their families.
After all, it’s like Dumbledore said:
“Happiness can be found even in the darkest times if one only remembers to turn on the light.”