While we were in Jinka, we visited the Omo Child Orphanage. Omo Child is an organization started by Lale Labuko and his wife from within the Kara Tribe, in partnership with American Photographer, John Rowe. Omo Child was started as a refuge for the Mingi children; children who are cast out from their tribe because they are believed to be cursed, and who face certain death as a result.
Arbitrary items such as how the child’s teeth grow or whether the child was born out of wedlock determine who is a Mingi child. The latter item can occur because a groom is not able to provide the required dowry for marriage, as this can be a substantial amount in some cases. This is an aspect of culture that originated long ago which has been accepted from generation to generation.
The orphanage is split into two homes, one for babies and one for older children and our visit showed this program is doing real good. To date they have rescued 37 children and they have recently managed to convince the Kara tribe to stop the Mingi practice, a massive step forward! Unfortunately there are other tribes who still follow this practice. The fact that the program was started within the tribe and purely for the benefit of its people is very powerful and gives me real hope sustainable change is possible.
Looking at these wonderful vibrant children today, it is hard to imagine what their future would have been without this program.
Having spent time with these wonderful people and children, I am committed to helping Omo Child make a difference and I invite you to join me.
More details about Omo Child and a link to make a donation can be found here. John Rowe was also interviewed by KPBS recently and the story can be viewed here.
Thank you for your support Andy, some wonderful shots of the kids and nannies! – Omo Child