When we started the World Orphan Fund about 10 months ago it was a leap of faith. We’ve funded half of the cost to build a toddler house at Orphanage Emmanuel in Honduras and have a strong following on our Facebook page. It’s a good start, and in the coming weeks we will launch our website and a newsletter. It’s been wonderful to hear the stories of so many who have already been helping and from others we’ve inspired to get involved for the first time.
We know we’re one of hundreds of groups working to support support these children, and we shamelessly promote good causes when we find them. I was surprised early on when I got a note from a charity with a similar name to ours asking that we consider calling ourselves something different. The concern was that we might be confused with them. My response was that there is a great need for what we are doing in the world and I pray that both of our organizations reach as many these children as possible.
Honestly, whether you join with us, or another worthy charity, please just get involved, because the reality that lead to our founding is heartbreaking. For example, according to Family Hope International, an organization that works to connect potential host families with Ukrainian orphans, there are more than 100,000 Ukrainian children under the age of 16 that either live on the streets or in an orphanage. Only 3 percent of those orphans will be adopted once they reach 9 years old and most orphans are released back onto the street, or “age-out” of an orphanage by 18. Of that total, 70 percent of the boys will serve time in prison and 60 percent of the girls become prostitutes. Ten percent of all Ukrainian orphans will commit suicide before the age of 18. I just can’t stand idly by knowing that.
Worldwide it’s an epidemic. Every 15 SECONDS, another child becomes an AIDS orphan in Africa Every year 2,102,400 more children become orphans there alone.
143,000,000 Orphans spend an average of 10 years in an orphanage or foster home. That’s a number equal to half the U.S. Population.
And while approximately 250,000 children are adopted annually, EVERY YEAR 14,050,000 children still grow up as orphans and age out of the system. Every 2.2 SECONDS, another orphan child ages out with no family to belong to and no place to call home.
At Orphanage Emmanuel, where we’ve focused our early efforts, the statistics are just as staggering. This week alone they received 63 new kids, expect 20 more in the next few days. That means a growth rate of more than 17% in just over a year. The Toddler house we helped pay for will help house some of these children and we look forward to seeing it in January. But along with housing, these 83 new children will need sponsors to both love them, and help pay for their needs. If you are interested in sponsoring a child at Emmanuel, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also in January we will visit a new Orphanage, Rancho Santa Fe (RSF), to learn about how they care for over 500 orphans there. RSF is one of several orphanages in the Nuestros Pequenos Hermano’s (NPH) network of orphanages that care for children in 9 Countries. We are very interested in their vocational training for the children and the success they appear to have in helping children into the general population once they age out.
In April we hope to visit smaller orphanages in Honduras, ones where our support can make the biggest difference. These are orphanages that are 10-15 years behind Emmanuel and Santa Fe.
In June the WOF hopes to sponsor it’s first youth mission trip for younger adults (18-25), hopefully to Emmanuel. Our plan is to assemble a team from several congregations from Wisconsin in a effort to rapidly connect churches with both orphans and orphanages. Our goal is multi-layered. Create future mission teams out of each congregation, encourage church support of the orphans and orphanages, and strategically locate the churches near schools that the U.S. Government has approved for non-resident children. By doing so we increase our chances of finding host families for children we hope to bring to the U.S. to educate.
Have ideas, see a need or just want to get involved? Drop me an email at email@example.com.