Why Orphans ?
How Many Orphan CHildren do you think there are?
There are a staggering number of orphan children worldwide. In fact, more than 140 million children are considered orphans by one definition or another. Sadly, there are orphan children who are even abandoned by the statistics! Who counts those who live on the streets, in landfills and sewer systems? How could you?
Where do orphan children come from?
First we can address the obvious...things that we read and hear about in the news all the time: War, disease, poverty, natural disasters, abandonment, and accidents are among some of the leading causes. These can be directly associated with orphans by the definition of a child who has lost one or both parents. Within and aside from the aforementioned are: cultural pressures, neglect, abuse, child slavery, religious inequity, child prostitution, indentured servitude and more. These are more closely associated with children without parental care that may not be a child that has lost one or more parents. They may live with a relative or neighbor or are on the street or in the jungles and subjected to one of the prior mentioned abuses. Sometimes they simply live with a blind, ill or very old relative that loves, but cannot care for them. They are many varied combinations that contribute to a child suffering without parental care, but the results are the same, regardless of the cause. Statistically the subgroups such as these would not be counted as orphans, but by attributes associated with abuse and neglect, they are one and the same in terms of outcome for the child. Perhaps in some ways their status almost makes them invisible and the danger they are in, is misunderstood by many not familiar with their culture.
What do you think happens to the average orphan child?
Beyond suffering and the ultimate tragedy of death, the children that do survive, often do so in ways that demeans and criminalizes themselves and brings suffering to others as well. The sad reality though, is that if a good and caring person is not there to provide what they need, who is? Pimps, child labor bosses, terrorists, rebel armies with child soldiers, child traffickers, even less - than- good- willed- relatives who want a personal slave. The end result is truly heartbreaking as many of the orphan children out there will die of starvation and issues related to malnutrition. They will die from preventable diseases. They will die at the hands of others and themselves. They will spend much of their life in jail. They will do harm to others and impact the world in a negative fashion.
But it's a massive problem, can we really make a difference?
Perhaps the biggest tragedy of all is that we know how to turn tragedy into triumph...we just need more help doing it! We know how to turn terrible statistics into wonderful statistics. And when you help the children, you are doing a wonderful thing, but the good you have done doesn't stop there. It spreads!
The world and global society benefit when we help orphan children.
Instead of harming themselves and others, they grow up to be responsible, healthy, adults that give back to the community they live in instead of taking away from it.
The good that is done, is generational.
When we give the children what they need to THRIVE, not just survive we break the cycle that creates orphans in the first place, and the next generation of children will have YOU to thank for the fact that their parents didn't abandon them...but instead raised them in a healthy and loving environment. There will be less crime, less disease and less orphan children to take care of!
Why help orphans
Whether you are a Christian, practicing perfect religion( James 1:27), or are just a caring person who loves children and recognizes our responsibility to the orphan children of the world...or both, there is no greater impact you can have on the future of our planet, than you will have by caring for our greatest resource, the innocent and deserving children who have been left to suffer. There are more than 140 million of them. Don't think they will have an impact on our world?
But what is the best way to help?
In order to understand the best way forward in helping children without parental care, we must first understand the following:
Every person ever conceived, was born with specific needs. Those needs include, critical needs such as food and shelter, security, the knowledge or belief that one is of value to themselves and others. Children will first seek their critical needs...and the supply of those critical needs will instill a learned behavior. And then they will seek the other needs as well, and the source of those needs will again become a learned behavior. For example, if a starving child learns that the surest way to not be hungry is to steal...they will learn that behavior as a means of survival. If being for example, a child soldier, or a terrorist means that they are fed, clothed and receive attention and praise from an adult figure, again they will learn that these types of behavior bring them rewards...supplying them with their needs. In a sense they will become what they have learned in their struggle to survive and belong. In essence, every orphan child will either perish or receive his or her basic human needs from some source...good or bad. It is up to those who have the means and the opportunity, to be sure that the source of their care is a source with good intentions. If we don't, it will be the pimps, slave traders, ill-willed relative, thieves, gangsters, warlords and terrorists that do.
Adoption helps but it is not a complete solution
Every year thousands of children are adopted into loving homes! Adoption is a wonderful option for parents who want to grow their family through adopting. OLI offers adoption consultation, education and service refferal. Unfortunately, only a tiny fraction of children without parental care will ever be adopted. There are simply too many of them and a large number of them are not eligible for adoption due to various legal reasons.
Foster care helps, but it is not a complete solution
In developed nations and even some developing nations, foster care is providing for tens of thousands of orphans! There are many nations where poverty and lack of social infrastructure mean as that foster care is very limited or non-existent. Some countries, even without infrastructure, have foster care homes administrated and monitored by non-profit private organizations. Unfortunately, such programs are not very scalable. In addition to these issues, in some countries there are cultural issues. There are countries where caring for children that are not family members is not entirely understood as being a social responsibility. There are also countries where it is understood, but not administered in an equitable fashion. The children are not treated the same as a biological child would be. Often, children taken in are treated as indentured servants.