September 28th is the day that we remember the British Home Children. Sadly, you probably didn’t know that. My name is Madison Anderson, and I would like to educate people on this tragic event in Canadian history that has not gotten the recognition it deserves.
The British Home Children was a child immigration scheme that took place from the late 1860s to 1948. This scheme sent over more than 100,000 children to Canada from the United Kingdom to be farm hands and child labourers. These children were sent to Canada by over 50 different organizations including: Barnardo’s and The Salvation Army. Canadians believed many of the children to be orphans, but only 12% were. Most of the time, these children came from intact families that had recently struggled, and due to difficult circumstances were unable to care for their children, which ultimately lead to the parents surrendering their children to the organizations. There were cases in which parents intended it to be a temporary solution, but when they went to retrieve their children they had already been sent away. Though some children were accepted and taken in by the families they worked for, for many this was not the case. Many children ran-away or disappeared, while others died from neglect and abuse, or had committed suicide. Over 10% of the Canadian population are descendants of British Home Children, although most are unaware. This is why I encourage people to educate themselves, and to research more about the British Home Children. These were children who were taken from their homes and endured life-long trauma, and I feel deeply that it is time to shed light on this dark time in Canadian history.
Emo Fair Queen Contestant
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