What can we do to aid the orphan crisis?
What can we do to aid the orphan crisis?

This Sunday is Orphan Sunday. Why dedicate a Sunday to orphans? There is so much need in our world, so many valuable and good causes which claim our attention, it’s easy for even the best of causes to fall through the cracks. Hard to believe something as large and urgent as the orphan crisis could be overlooked, but it happens and is happening.

What You Can Do

This Sunday is our chance to focus the attention of our churches on the parentless children in the world.  Why not call your church or place of worship and ask if you can share a few facts and a prayer.   I’ve done the work for you on pulling the facts together and even wrote a prayer.

  • Fact: Nearly 145 million children throughout the world have lost one or both parents.
  • Fact: There are 107,000 children in the US Foster Care system waiting to be adopted.
  • Fact: Every day 5,760 more children in the world become orphans.
  • Fact: Every 2 seconds, an orphan dies from malnutrition.
  • Fact: Around the world, 17 million children have been orphaned by the AIDS crisis. If all these children held hands, they would stretch half way across the globe.
  • Fact: 6,000 children are orphaned by AIDS every day. That is one newly orphaned child every 14 seconds.
  • Fact: In sub-Saharan Africa alone, more than 18 million children – more than all the children in the United Kingdom–have lost at least one parent to AIDS.  This number equates to 12% of all the children in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Fact: 20% of the adult population in sub-Saharan Africa has been impacted by AIDS; therefore, orphaned children not only lose their parents, but also aunts, uncles, grandparents, teachers, health workers and civil servants. Remaining extended family members are often overwhelmed with caring for the many children of dead relatives.
  • Fact: For every 3 months in an orphanage a child loses one month of growth and development.
  • Fact: By 2015 it is projected that there will be 400 million orphaned children worldwide.

A Prayer for Orphan Sunday

James 1:27 tells us that the religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is to look after orphans and widows in their distress. The need is great, but so is our God.

Dear God, thank you for the blessing of children. Thank you for their noise, their silliness, their innocence.  We need more noise, silliness and innocence in our world.  But there are millions of children who have precious little opportunity for noisiness and silliness, and who don’t have the luxury of innocence.

You tell us that the meek shall inherit the earth, and surely parentless children are the meekest of all your creations.  Indeed these children, as all children, will inherit the earth.  These children, as all children, need food to grow, shelter to survive, education to reach their potential, and love to become emotionally stable human beings.  Usually, providing this food, shelter, education and love is the duty and joy of parents, but when there are no parents, you tell us it is our responsibility.

Help us Oh God to fulfill this responsibility.  Help us to understand how best to care for your children when their parents can’t.  Help us to spread our energy and money in ways to benefit the most.

Sometimes I’m overwhelmed with the enormity of the task.  It seems that there are so many of them near and far, and so few of us and so little money.   Fortunately, your love is greater than the task.  Please God, help us to create a world where all children can be noisy, silly, and innocent, and where all children can grow up to reach the potential for which they were created.

Thanks God, Amen.

Image credit: H?ITRÌNH