J.K. Rowling visited New York City to announce the launch of Lumos USA, the American office of the charity organization founded by herself, which works to transform the lives of disadvantaged children.

Rowling lit up the iconic Empire State Building in New York, using purple, blue, light blue & white, to mark the launch of Lumos USA. The organization’s expansion is part of their global mission to bring light to the lives of eight million children living in orphanages and institutions around the world.

At the event, she continued to spread the messages at the heart of Lumo’s work: that 80% of children in orphanages are not orphans but have been separated from their families due to poverty, disability, conflict and disasters; and that families are the best place for them to grow up.

“Children need families, and families need their children and I believe it is entirely possible, with concerted effort, to help to transform the way the world cares for disadvantaged children,” said the author in launching Lumos USA. ” We owe this to the eight million children living in orphanages around the world, most of whom do have parents and families who, given the right level of support, could care for them at home.”

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In an effort to bring more awareness on this issue, Rowling has written a personal article on the subject.

“In the last eighteen years I have spoken to thousands of children: at literary festivals, in schools, hospitals and bookshops, outside premieres and while doing my shopping. These encounters have almost always been joyful. However, some such interactions are not preserved as cheerful images in my mental scrapbook. They haunt me. The sensations of powerlessness and unhappiness that I experienced at the time rise again whenever I think about them: they are rising now.”

She goes on to relate some of the experiences she’s had meeting children living in institutions. It’s a long article, but definitely worthwhile your time. It can be read here.

Finally, to help raise funds for this charity, Lumos has started a new sweepstakes. For donating as little as $10 you get the chance ton win rare signed J.K. Rowling books, tickets to Comic Con or a trip to Orlando Universal Resort.

Rowling will appear on The Today Show tomorrow morning to talk about Lumos USA and the release of her new book Very Good Lives.

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