Entertainment Celebrity Do not give money to orphanages, says Harry Potter author JK Rowling

Do not give money to orphanages, says Harry Potter author JK Rowling

Rowling on orphanages
JK Rowling is certain to arouse controversy with her views on charity. Photo: AAP
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After making her reputation, and her fortune, by telling the story of an orphan named Harry Potter, it may come as little surprise that JK Rowling is concerned with the wellbeing of children.

What may come as a surprise is that the author has urged her fans not to give money to orphanages.

Rowling says donations may be contributing to harm. Photo: Getty

Rowling took part in a Facebook Live chat on Sunday for her charity Lumos, chaired by broadcaster Lauren Laverne, to publicise the plight of the eight million children around the world who are living in orphanages.

Rowling, who founded the non-profit organisation 10 years ago, said: “All of the research agrees that there’s little you can do worse for a child than put it in an institution.”

She cautioned people about donating money to overseas orphanages.

“We want to help children and that’s an honourable and admirable thing. However, you may be contributing towards real harm,” she said.

“If you take nothing else away tonight, I’d like you to remember this is a solvable problem.

“Eight million children is an unfathomably large number – it’s so hard to really take in what that means, eight million – but we can solve it.

“We absolutely do need funds but we need to change minds.

“And if we change minds we will change lives.”

While many of the comments on her Facebook Live page concerned Harry Potter rather than her work with other children, she did garner plenty of support for Lumos.


She was asked by Laverne how she managed to keep up with a hectic publishing schedule.

“I have a very supportive family and I never answer emails,” Rowling said.

“I find it makes life a lot easier if you just forget a lot of stuff you’re supposed to be doing.

“I tend to prioritise my writing and my children. Children normally come first depending on how they’re behaving.”

The orphan Harry Potter did not have the happiest of upbringings. Photo: Warner Brothers

She also revealed she has realised there is no escaping Harry Potter.

“As completely as I can ever step away from Harry Potter, I really stepped away for about six or seven years … But Harry Potter has a gravitational pull of its own because the fan base is so strong that I don’t think I’ll ever be entirely separate from Harry Potter.”

She also answered a fan question about the best life lesson for a wizard.

“The most important life lesson for a wizard is exactly the same as for a muggle, because ultimately those books were about human nature and examining the fact that even when people were given magic, it didn’t solve everything.”

See JK Rowling’s full discussion below:

J.K. Rowling in conversation with Lauren Laverne

Author and Founder of Lumos, J.K. Rowling talks to Host Lauren Laverne. The interview marks the official launch of We Are Lumos Worldwide; a global campaign to raise awareness of the eight million children living in orphanages around the world, and the work that Lumos is doing to help them return to family life. Lumos will be on hand to answer any questions you may have throughout the broadcast, please use the comments section on the Lumos live stream. We hope you enjoy watching.

Posted by J.K. Rowling on 2016年9月17日

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