What Is an Orphan School?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 26 December 2019
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An orphan school is an educational facility that provides education and support to orphans who may lack family support and assistance to pay for schooling. Some institutions are run as public charities with government funds, while others are private. Private orphan schools rely on support from nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) as well as donations from members of the public. Such schools typically require students to complete an application process, and the standards for admission may vary.

At an orphan school, students have access to education that will provide them with skills they need to pursue careers. Orphans can be at an economic disadvantage and may be more likely to live in poverty. Creating educational institutions that focus on orphans and their needs can decrease the chances that they will require public assistance later in life. Students may even go on to become teachers at such schools later in life, using the education provided by them as a building block for success.

Many orphan schools provide housing or work in cooperation with an organization that houses orphans. Children without parents may be more likely to be homeless in some regions, or could rely on charity from family members who may not be able to afford to provide support. Housing typically also comes with food, which is important for fighting malnutrition among orphans.


Students at a typical orphan school can access medical care and other support through the school. If the school does not have access to advanced medical facilities, students who need special care may qualify for private grants and assistance. These students can travel to a hospital that will meet their needs for procedures like HIV/AIDS care, repair of cleft lip and palate, and other types of medical care. The school may also provide ongoing support to make sure students adhere to treatment regimens.

The goal of an orphan school may be to prepare students for placement with new families. In other cases, they remain with the school until they reach the age of majority. Schools with students eligible for fostering and adoption may hold periodic public events to give members of the public an opportunity to meet the children. Others provide housing and care on behalf of family members who cannot take in orphans but still want to be able to visit them and play a role in their lives. These institutions may have family visiting days to give students at the orphan school a chance to see their relatives.


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