With all the problems in the world–economic distress, natural disasters, war–why does World Orphans put so much emphasis on the orphan? To answer, imagine this…
Imagine a world faced with catastrophic issues, such as extreme poverty, disease, starvation, human trafficking, and the exploitation of child soldiers. At the core of those issues is one common link—the Orphan. Unfortunately, the numbers of orphans are growing at an alarming rate! Currently, there are over 150 million orphans in the world . . . abandoned, neglected, and vulnerable.
In a world inundated with hypocrisy, people are constantly looking for something pure and faultless. James 1:27 gives us hope by reminding us that “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after the orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
- The most recent estimate shows there are approximately 150 million orphans in the world (UNICEF 2014). For this number, an orphan is defined as a child who has lost one or both parents.
- The number of children under the age of 18 who have been coerced or induced to take up arms as child soldiers is generally thought to be in the range of 30,000. Over 50 countries currently recruit children under age 18 into their armed forces.
- More than 17 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS.
- Of those children that have lost a parent/parents to AIDS, 15 million live in sub-Saharan Africa.
- Worldwide, an estimated 300 million children are subjected to violence, exploitation and abuse. Practices include the worst forms of child labor in communities, schools and institutions; armed conflict; and harmful practices such as female genital mutilation/cutting and child marriage.
As you gaze across the globe, it’s hard to ignore the atrocities of HIV/AIDS, extreme poverty, the exploitation of children, war, and the devaluation of women.
Unfortunately, stuck in the aftermath of all that tragedy is the single greatest burden, and opportunity, of our time–orphaned and abandoned children. These children are estimated to surpass 150 million. They are children of disease, children of abuse, and children of apparent hopelessness. Yet, they are also children of promise, children with names, and children of God. Over forty times in Scripture, God speaks of His love for orphans. The fact that God gave His son for us in order to place us into His family is startling evidence of His burning passion to connect forgotten people to His saving grace and an eternity of belonging. What better way to tap into the heart of God than to care for the downtrodden by defending the cause of orphaned and vulnerable children?