Rowling Lives! One Young World Forum

J. K. Rowling appeared at the One Young World Forum in London on 24 October to speak as a representative of Lumos, her primary charitable focus, which works to place institutionalized children into families and in homes rather than orphanages. The focus of her remarks to the panel on which she sat as one guest among four was the danger and harm done by well-intentioned but naive “volun-tourists.”

Lumos released a video against “orphanage tourism and volunteering,” activities they describe as ‘Helping Not Helping.’

Read more about the event and Rowling’s remarks at, from which the videos above were taken, and at in her announcement. The full text of her comments can be read at (hat tip, Rowling Library!).Her next scheduled public appearance will be in New York on 12 December when she will be one of four political leftists “dedicated to advancing social change” who will be given a Robert Kennedy ‘Ripple of Hope’ Award.

More after the jump.

I have to think that many of the young people to whom Rowling is speaking, the “volun-tourists” from the West who visit orphanages as part of vacation packages or work there for a period of weeks or months, are readers who were inspired by her Hogwarts Saga novels to attempt heroic good deeds. She seems honestly pained that these people think they are doing Gryffindor magic, their “saving people thing” a la Harry, when they are really just perpetuating and furthering the great wrong being done to these children. The #HelpingNotHelping video, much more than Rowling in her comments above, seems to revel in the shamelessness and selfishness of the “volun-tourists,” no doubt to make anyone considering such a trip to reconsider.

I will always wish that Rowling had room in her heart to speak out for the most defenseless among us and those most likely to be murdered, the unborn infant, but her work for institutionalized children, a group without champions of the world’s most famous writer’s wealth and celebrity, is more than admirable. This is fine and necessary work in the best of causes and one which will no doubt continue to help millions of people around the world.

The only thing that keeps me from calling it “heroic” is that it comes at no cost to her beyond the donations of time and treasure she makes; her brand and status among the elite will only be elevated by work which offends no one. Orphan work comes with all the risk of being criticized or ostracized as being against drunk driving or for adult literacy. Two cheers, then, for the good she does — and another for a public appearance that confirms her continued existence among the living!

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