May 10, 2020

Founder and CEO of Home for Good, Krish Kandiah, joins Alberto Lidji to discuss philanthropy, the global orphanage crisis, family-based care, fostering and adoptions

Home for Good is the charity Krish founded 5 years ago, which came out of his own family’s experience of fostering and adopting.


We hear how in the UK there’s a shortage of foster carers and adoptive parents; in the USA there are over 110,000 children who are in the care system waiting to be adopted and are ready for families. Globally, there’s a whole issue on how we care for children.


In the UK, the government is the corporate parent of every child that’s in the care system. There has been a huge upturn in the number of kids who are in care in England with 75,000 kids in care at present. The government is struggling to find carers.


Krish works very closely with the UK Department for Education and, also, he is increasingly working with the UK Home Office, since there is a pressing need for unaccompanied asylum seeking children who have fled war and terror in places like Syria, Afghanistan and Eritrea.


Krish notes that asking someone to become an adoptive parent or foster carer is a really big ask. It goes well beyond asking someone to give money.  Rather, we’re asking people to open their homes and welcome into their families strangers’ children who have had all sorts of on-going trauma; to love these kids as their own flesh and blood, not just for a hobby or a weekend but for the rest of their lives – that’s a huge ask.  It’s a hugely philanthropic way of living.


During the conversation, Krish also shares his fascinating personal story and sheds light into his mixed race background, his mother’s experience growing up as a child in an orphanage and his own six children – three of whom are his birth children.


Krish’s dad was born in Malaysia, and his dad’s dad was born in Sri Lanka. His mother was born in India, and her dad was Irish.  Krish notes how in the 1940s and 1950s it was quite unusual for a mixed race marriage to take place and, because mixed race children were not socially acceptable, his grandfather’s three daughters ended up in three different orphanages all over India. This was the case even though their mother was around and able to care for them.


As a consequence of discovering his own personal family history, Krish is now also quite focused on the issue of de-institutionalisation.


Most children in orphanages around the world have living parents. However, he notes that because of social stigma or well-intentioned philanthropy that hasn’t necessarily been thought out we are unnecessarily institutionalising children. This was Krish’s mom’s story – she didn’t need to be in an orphanage as a child yet she grew up in one unnecessarily.


Krish goes on to explain how, today, he now has three birth kids and three permanent other members of their family through fostering and adoption.  It is through these experiences that Krish and his wife know both how challenging fostering and adopting are and, also, just how very rewarding they are as well.


Krish’ passion comes across loud and clear and he explains how the goal of finding a home for every child that needs one has been the operating vision of Home for Good since the very outset.  


To underscore how consequential this issue is to society, he presents some sobering statistics: for instance, kids who age out of the foster system in the UK make up 1% of the population but they make up 25% of the homeless population and make up between 40% and 50% of our prison population.


Krish's takeaway for philanthropists: Passion and heart are not enough to do effective philanthropy. As philanthropists we have go to be absolutely informed and clear that our interventions are actually doing good.


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