ORPHAN CRISIS

 
It’s time to stop looking the other way when we hear the phrase “orphan care.”
We often think, “but what can I do? I’m just ONE person.
It’s too overwhelming to save the world. I can’t save them all.”
 
 
 
But YOU can.
 
 
 
Each person in American can by making the choice to impact an orphan’s life in some way. Here’s why your individual choice matters, and how you make an impact.
 
 
 
143,000,000
to
210,000,000 
 
It is estimated that there are between 143 and 210 million orphaned children in the world according to UNICEF. This includes both “true and social orphans.”
 
(A social orphan is a child who may have living parents, but the parents are unable to care for the child due to illness, drug or alcohol abuse, and the child is either on the streets or institutionalized. A true orphan has no living parents.)

 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are approximately 125 million adult women in the U.S., and about 119 million adult men. That means if each family in America – or at least half of the adults in America – hosted, adopted or sponsored just ONE child, the orphan crisis would no longer be a crisis.

It would be manageable or nonexistent, and each child would no longer be a statistic. They would be able to finally LIVE and enjoy childhood. There would be 143-210 million fewer broken hearts in the world if we each made the choice to look these children in the eyes, instead of look the other way.  

Below, we have listed reasons why we, as Christians, the body of Christ, should band together and care about solving the orphan crisis.

 
 
 
Each day 38,493 orphans age out.
 
That’s an orphan being thrown to the  streets every 2.2 seconds.
 

DID YOU KNOW?

 
5,760/day
 
The number of children that become orphans every day.  That’s a new orphan every 15 seconds.
17.7 million
As of 2013, This is the estimated of children worldwide that lost one or both parents to AIDS. Most of these children live in sub-Saharan Africa.
14, 505, 000
 
The number of Orphans aging out of the system by age sixteen each year.
 
 
(WORLDWIDE OR US?)
Every year
 
More than 23,000 children age out of foster care, leaving them without families of their own.
 
(WORLDWIDE OR US?)

And here’s what happens to them if you don’t take action:

 
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Poland – Polska

 
Poland is an often overlooked Eastern European country where despite a fairly strong economy, unemployment is still a huge problem, resulting in more children being orphaned or abandoned due to their parents’ financial struggles. In addition, like many other Eastern European countries, alcohol abuse is still a major issue faced by the population, which affects the children’s orphan status as well.
 

While not all children in Poland are true orphans, meaning, they have not lost both parents, about 90% of the country’s 80,000 orphans are social orphans, meaning they have been removed from the home due to poverty, neglect, abuse, loss of parental rights or unemployment, and their parents no longer care for them. They are then placed in state-run orphanages, foster families or group homes. The orphanages are called Dom Dziecka in Polish, which is Children’s Home in English.

Many host families ask why there is a need for hosting and adoption of Polish children, when the standard of care is considered a bit higher than in most countries, and many Polish children are in foster or smaller group homes as opposed to large institutions. This is a misconception, as financial stability does not equal emotional support.

 
 

Make no mistake, an orphan who may live in higher housing standards is still not getting the guidance, love, and future support of a child in a permanent family. And some orphans in Poland do live in very sub-par conditions, especially in the south. But one fact remains the same: they all need to know that they are loved, to experience the model of a true family and to have a role model or parental guidance from someone who be a constant support system in their lives.

And that is where hosting comes in.

STATISTICS

 
  • According to the US Bureau of Consular Affairs; Poland has 450 orphanages and as many as 80,000 orphans. From 1999-2013 there were 41 teenagers adopted by US citizens. (update this fact with the Bureau’s website)
  • There is an average of 56 children per orphanage/children’s home, but can be upwards to 100. Some children remain in a home for their whole childhood, while other children are arriving and leaving, bonds are breaking and forming all the time.
  • 90% of adults who were raised in the Children’s Home system struggle in life. 60% of Poland’s homeless have been raised in these orphanages. More than 90% have difficulties with relationships in their adult lives.
 
Disclaimer: Any criticism of the Polish orphanage system should not be directed at the orphanages themselves, but at the politicians who set the budgets for the orphanages. This is not a Polish problem, but global. Orphans, disadvantaged children and dysfunctional families are low priority internationally when politicians are setting their political budgets. Supporting these two groups today would result in a decline in social problems in the next generation, but in political terms that is beyond the horizon.

Ukraine- ???????

 
 
 
 
 
 

Ukraine is a beautiful country that has recently become war-torn in the Eastern regions, leaving even more children vulnerable to being orphaned and abandoned. Children across the country also face neglect, abuse, and abandonment due to their parents’ alcoholism, a common cultural problem that still plagues much of Eastern Europe’s population. 

Before becoming independent, graduates of orphanages receive a set of new clothes and shoes, cash assistance amounting to 1590 hryvnia (about $50), their education records, and various certificates. With this package they are supposed to enter a college or a university on special conditions, get a place at a school hostel and full state support, which includes free accommodation, meals, increased scholarship, some financial aid, and free medical care.

In reality this material aid is not sufficient, and their chances to enter a university are very low, as they depend on the number of free preferential seats. Usually, orphans are guided by their school directors into regional technical specialized schools/colleges that provide just a limited number of professions, and where other orphans are concentrated, so that further institutionalization and stigmatization of children continues.

After the children finish their education, they are supposed to get a part of their parents’ dwelling, if they had parents, but in reality due to their legal illiteracy, they end up with no place to live.  Thus, there is a HUGE need for orphan hosting in Ukraine. Children are being raised in orphanages with little or no parental or moral guidance, and hardly any hope for a future. They do not realize they are special, and they need someone to show them they are, otherwise, they often fall victim to human and sex trafficking or a criminal lifestyle. Even if you are not “adoption-minded,” hosting an orphan from Ukraine will truly change their lives, and may prevent them from falling victim to one of the statistics below.

STATISTICS

  • Many orphans who have special needs rarely can afford to purchase their medication after aging out of their orphanage. The government does not provide much financial support, and what is available is not easy to obtain.

  • Approximately 60% of orphan girls in Ukraine become prostitutes once they age out of the orphanage.

  •  According to Ukraine’s “mother-and- child” centers, 35% of their inhabitants are orphan girls who are pregnant or new mothers and have aged out of their orphanage.
  • Approximately 50% of graduates of boarding schools/orphanages later abandon their children, and most of do so immediately after giving birth.
  • Approximately 70% of orphans are or were involved in criminal activity in Ukraine.
  • At least 10% of orphans commit suicide (unofficially, the number is much higher).
  • Only 10% of orphan boarding school graduates are completely socially integrated.

Sierra Leone

 
 
 
 
 
Despite significant natural wealth, Sierra Leone remains one of the poorest countries in the world: around 80 per cent of its population live in crippling poverty. Semi-arid rural areas tend to be more affected than the urban centres of the country. Economic recovery has been going fairly slowly and a major part of the country’s GDP is coming from international donors.  The average Sierra Leonean can expect to live to 48 years, one of the lowest life expectancy figures in the entire world.  Nearly half the population is severely undernourished as regular access to food and drinking water remains scarce.
 
HIV/AIDS remains a persisting public health issue in Sierra Leone, a country that is home to 49,000 people who suffer from the disease. Although noticeable progress has been made over recent years, HIV continues to be a significant problem in rural areas which are generally more affected than urban centres.
 

The psychological effects on children that were exposed to the atrocities that occurred during the country’s civil war go deep. According to estimates, 310,000 children in Sierra Leone grow up without their parents, many of them as a result of the war. 18,000 of them have been orphaned due to AIDS. The Ebola epidemic, which started in 2014, left many more children without parental care.

Orphaned children often face the challenge of being the breadwinner for an entire family at a very early age. Thousands of Sierra Leonean children work in the country’s mines in order to make a living. They have to carry out physically challenging tasks like digging in soil and gravel or shifting heavy masses of mud.

A shortage of schools and teachers heavily affects the education of Sierra Leonean children. During the war, thousands of schools were partially or completely destroyed. In spite of recent efforts to make education more accessible, more than half of the school-aged population don’t go to school. The country continues to have one of the highest illiteracy rates in the world: only 42 per cent of Sierra Leoneans aged 15 and over know how to read and write. In mid- 2014 the situation worsened, as schools were shut in order to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus

STATISTICS

  • At 119 per 1,000 live births, Sierra Leone also has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world. Access to food remains a challenge for the majority of Sierra Leonean families. One in four children is either moderately or severely underweight.
  • During the country’s 10-year civil war, thousands of children were used as combatants. In 2014, the Ebola epidemic brought even more hardships to one of Africa’s poorest countries. It is estimated that there are 340,000 orphans in Sierra Leone today.
  • In Sierra Leone, 99% of orphaned children did not receive any form of external assistance.

Uganda

 
 
 
 
 
Uganda has substantial natural resources, including fertile soils, regular rainfall, small deposits of copper, gold, and other minerals, and recently discovered oil. Agriculture is the most important sector of the economy, employing more than one-third of the work force.
 
The sad thing is that Uganda should be a bread basket to the world, but there are very many starving Ugandans. Uganda has fertile ground, great amounts of sunlight, sufficient rainfall with two rainy seasons, and a large labor force. The main reason that Uganda is not a bread basket to the world is due to improper farming methods and management leading to soil erosion, soil nutrient depletion, and poor yields.
 
Despite all this natural wealth there are more orphans in Uganda than anywhere else in the world — over 2.90 million children out of the 3 — due to the AIDS epidemic, extreme poverty, and decades of civil conflict. Since achieving independence from Britain in 1962, Uganda has suffered almost uninterrupted brutality. Armed rebellions, mostly split along ethnic lines, have wracked the population, now estimated at 26.4 million.
 
Today, many Western governments regard Uganda as a qualified success from a development standpoint. It has made significant progress against AIDS, promoting condom use and other measures; since the mid-1990s, the prevalence of AIDS cases among Ugandans 15 to 49 years old has fallen, from 18 percent to 6 percent. Still, AIDS remains the leading cause of death of people in that age group.ds.

STATISTICS

  • Close to 60% of Uganda’s population are children below the age of 18 years old. Uganda has a total population of 31.7 million people, 17.1 million are children.
  • In Uganda less than 81 children are orphaned every day, that’s about one every 20 minutes. Currently, at least one in every four households in Uganda has an orphan.
  • 15% of all children (2.90 million children) One third of these kids have been orphaned, or their parents are terminally ill due to HIV/AIDS have been orphaned — nearly half due to HIV / AIDS.
  • Over half of Uganda’s children (8.1 million children – 51%) are either critically or moderately vulnerable, while 63% live with caregivers other than their biological parents.
  • Every 30 minutes, an in orphan in Uganda ages out of the system, entering the world without a family, source of income and, in most cases, without enough education to gain employment.
  • About 68 percent of boys who age out of the system have committed a crime within five years.•About 59 percent of girls who age out of the system are involved in prostitution of some kind with five years.
  • Nearly 9 percent of orphans who age out of the system eventually commit suicide.
  • Child labor-Some orphans look for a job to escape their dire situations. All too often, they are exploited through all kinds of degrading and dangerous work. The International Labour Organization reports that more orphans work in commercial agriculture, as street vendors and housekeepers, and in the sex industry, than other children.
  • The United Nations has concluded that, “over 50% of Uganda’s children under five still suffer from some form of malnutrition, directly and indirectly contributing to up to 60% of child mortality