Morning Tears is an organization for children whose parents are in prison.
Morning Tears started in 1999 as a small organization in China without formal structure. Today Morning Tears is a registered Non-Governmental Organization with legal accreditations for child protection in several countries around the world.
Over 9 million people are held in prison institutions around the world. Prison populations are growing in nearly all the countries of the world.
The psychological problems and emotional pains that children of convicts are facing are often overwhelming. The arrest of a parent causes fear, confusion and panic. Before and during the trial children feel anxiety and frustration. When their parent is being sentenced they feel hopeless and helpless. Stigmas and Biases become part of their childhood.
When a father goes to prison, there is an 80% chance that the mother will still be the caregiver of their children. When a mother is sent to prison, the chances that the father will be the carer of their children is less than one in five. Additionally, in developping countries, families tend to have more children, the chances that other relatives or grandparents take care of the child are smaller because of the poverty pressure. The world of the child is destroyed.
Consequently, the imprisonment of a parent often lead to the start of a life on the street for the children. On the streets there is no help available to assist the children in the healing process from their traumatic experience of parental inprisonment, and the child is left alone to provisions of basic needs in food and shelter.
Statistics shows that children of convicts have about a 70% of going to jail like their mothers or fathers before them if they don't get help. Those children of the damned who become damned themselves begin early with a cycle of pain. They are at risk for mental health problems, often bullied at school, and suffer from the stigma of having a parent in jail.
Even on an interpersonal level, in many societies people have prejudices against children with imprisoned parent. Instead of surrounding the children with a loving and understanding environment many parents want to protect their own child agains what is considered as the negative influence of those failing children: It is not good to play with those children. Instead of helping the children people tend to give them isolation and a negative self-image.
Morning Tears tries to rebuild the world for children who have lost their own, providing a new home for children that are left behind by the imprisonment of a parent. In these family unit, they provide all basic needs such as Food, clothes, and shelter, but also psychological support, school education, leisure activities and juridical support. Above all, they offer a safe, loving and caring environment where children can heal from their trauma.
The "Children of convicts" photo exhibition
"Children of convicts" photo exhibition is a day in the life of those children.
Concept - Serie of photos focus on Children of convicts in China in their daily life, image of the places where children are living in the Morning Tears Coming home center, enjoying meals, going to school, doing homework, playining with friends, interaction with caregivers, etc.
We spent some time with 44 of them in a family unit care center, living with them for a while. As all children in the World, they have joys, pain, laughs and tears ! After few days being there, we discovered wonderful loving kids who take their lives in charge with such courage everyday. We also met the people who take care of them, staff of the center and saw their work in the backstage. After breakfast at 5am, we walked to school with the kids every morning at 7am and shared their daily life for a few days. On the last day, we left with in the heart and in memory the idea that we will come back, helping them more.
Morning Tears photo exhibition "Children of Convicts" will start in October in Beijing. All photographs will be also for sale in profit of the kids.
Keywords:China, NGO, kids, morning, orphans, parents, prison, tears
© Christian Jacques, Photography