Founder and Chair of Lumos
J.K. Rowling was born in England and raised in the border country between England and Wales. After university, where she studied French and Classics, she had a number of different jobs including teaching and as a researcher for Amnesty International, working on human rights abuse in Francophone Africa. Her first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, was published in 1997, and six subsequent Harry Potter novels followed, all of which have achieved record sales. The seven books have been made into eight films, the last of which was released in July 2011. J.K. Rowling has received several honours and awards, including the OBE in 2001, and a Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur, as well as several honorary degrees. She has supported a number of charitable causes over the years, including One Parent Families (now Gingerbread), Maggie's Centres for Cancer Care Centres, Medecins Sans Frontieres and Comic Relief. For nine years she was Patron of Multiple Sclerosis Society Scotland and continues to fund MS research through the Anne Rowling Clinic at Edinburgh University.
In 2005, after seeing an article in the Sunday Times about children being kept in caged beds in institutions, J.K. Rowling felt compelled to address this terrible problem. As a result she founded the charity that became Lumos. She said, "I looked at that photograph of the boy in his cage bed and felt he has absolutely no voice. This touched me as nothing else has because I can think of nobody more powerless than a child, perhaps with a mental or a physical disability, locked away from their family. It was a very shocking realisation to me and that's where the whole thing started".
In 2007, J.K. Rowling auctioned a copy of one of the seven special editions of The Tales of Beedle the Bard which raised £1.95 million for Lumos. In December 2008 the book was widely published in aid of the charity and became the fastest-selling book of that year.
Lumos works in partnership with governments, professionals and carers, communities, families and children, to transform outdated systems that drive families apart. Together with their partners they replace institutions with community based services that provide children with access to health, education and social care tailored to their individual needs. This supports families to provide the loving care their children need to develop to their full potential and build a positive future for themselves.
Europe, Eastern Europe (Bulgaria, Rumania, Moldova, Belarus, Ukraine), Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region
The main focus of Lumos Foundation's work is the deinstitutionalisation of children. They are often engaged in and working on issues regarding disabilities and homelessness.
Lumos assists governments in the development of deinstitutionalisation strategies and supports them in the implementation of such plans to reform services. The organisation has a presence in various European countries, including Bulgaria, Czech Republic, and Moldova. In Europe, Lumos also works on projects in Serbia and Greece. The organisation is expanding it's activities into the LAC region, where it provides direct technical and logistical support. The support includes assessing children's needs; helping prepare children and families transition to community-based services; training professionals in the delivery of quality of community services.
Lumos engages in international advocacy, influencing funders and policy makers; and campaigns to raise awareness about the issue of institutionalisation and the harm it causes to millions of children around the world. Lumos has supported the establishment of, and is part of, various NGO coalitions, working on children's rights, to advance its work. One of which is the UNICEF Global Partnership on Children with Disabilities (GPCWD), in which Lumos chairs and holds the secretariat of the Child Protection Task Force.
An important part of Lumos' mission is the promotion of child and youth participation in Lumos's work as well and in national and international advocacy activities.