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. Currently, there are over 140 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 reminds 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.”

What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has the eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.
— Saint Augustine
  • The most recent estimate shows there are approximately 140 million orphans in the world (CAFO 2018). 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 300,000. Armed forces in over 50 countries currently recruit children under age 18.
  • 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, 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. 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. God speaks of his love for orphans more than forty times throughout Scripture. The fact that God gave his son for us in order to place us in 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?