153 million orphans – that’s nearly half the U.S. population. Global estimates often imply that all of these children have no living parents and are waiting to be adopted. In reality, less than 1/10th of 1 percent of all orphans will ever be adopted, and 90 percent of orphans have one living parent. This does not mean that these children are not highly vulnerable, but it does mean that the best response to their needs requires caring support designed to serve the child and support the community.
There is a common connection between the great social issues afflicting our world — poverty, hunger, HIV/AIDS, child soldiers, and trafficking. Each is a part of the orphan crisis.
Join Us in providing care for the most vulnerable, preserving families, and strengthening communities to prevent more children from becoming orphans. Together, we can break these cycles and change the lives of children, one at a time.
More than 1.4 billion people live on less than $1.25 a day, the international standard of extreme poverty.(1) In developing countries, families spend 50 percent to 80 percent of their income on food and are often forced to choose which of their children will get to eat on any particular day. Can you imagine having to make that choice? Older children are eventually forced out onto the streets to fend for themselves. Without the opportunity for an education or to develop skills, these children will perpetuate the cycle of poverty as they eventually start their own families.
HIV/AIDS is ravaging countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and around the world. Nearly 23 million people are living with HIV in Africa, including 2.3 million children.(2) Parents are dying and leaving their children behind. With government systems overwhelmed, the oldest child, sometimes only 8 or 9, becomes the head of the household.
Faced with poverty, parents are often tempted into selling one or more of their children to traffickers. Some traffickers lure the girls and boys away with promises of jobs and money they can send home. The parents may or may not realize the end intent of the traffickers, but most often these children are beaten, drugged, and forced into a life of sexual slavery. The best available estimate is that 1.2 million children are trafficked illegally every year.(3)
In dozens of countries children are not only the victims of war, but also the participants in resistance armies, militias, and terrorist organizations. An estimated 250,000 children between the ages of 7 and 17 are engaged in armed conflict. While some children wield assault rifles on the front lines, others serve as spies, cooks, mine clearers, porters, and sexual slaves. About 40 percent are young girls. These children are often lured off the streets, bought from parents in extreme poverty, or kidnapped during attacks by these same armies that kill their parents or family members. Some groups have specifically recruited orphans and nurtured their loyalty.(4) Abused physically, psychologically, and sometimes sexually, these children are forced into battle, eventually being responsible for many more children being orphaned in these conflicts.
“For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me. Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.” - Matthew 25:35-36, 40 (NASB)
Each of us has the ability to change the course of a child’s life. Will you make a difference for one of the least of these today? Join Us Today.
(1)World Bank, 2008
(2)UNAIDS Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic, 2010
(3)UNICEF: The State of the World’s Children, 2006
(4)United Nations, 2010