Challenging the received wisdom that community reintegration is always better than institutional provision, this case study argues that institutional care of orphans should not always be considered only as a last resort but may offer greater care and protection than community-based alternatives. The authors used interviews, focus groups, workshops and observations, to examine how children’s experiences of armed violence and parental loss affected their mental well-being, and their relationships within their community. Focusing on an orphan school, they found that orphans developed important caring connections, feelings of reprieve and developed a sense of belonging.